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Roger Federer out for rest of 2020 tennis season

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Roger Federer is expected to sit out the remainder of the 2020 tennis season due to a setback in his return from February right knee surgery.

“A few weeks ago, having experienced a setback during my initial rehabilitation, I had to have an additional quick arthroscopic procedure on my right knee,” was tweeted from Federer’s account. “Now, much like I did leading up to the 2017 season, I plan to take the necessary time to be 100% ready to play at my highest level. I will be missing my fans and the tour dearly but, I will look forward to seeing everyone back on tour at the start of the 2021 season.”

Federer, who turns 39 on Aug. 8, would go nearly one year between tournaments, the longest break of a career that’s included a male record 20 Grand Slam singles titles.

Rafael Nadal is at 19 Grand Slams and could pass Federer if he wins the U.S. Open and French Open in September, assuming those tournaments are held amid coronavirus concerns. Novak Djokovic has 17 Grand Slams.

Federer underwent arthroscopic right knee surgery on Feb. 19 following pain that bothered him “for a little while.” He was expected to miss three months, but then the pandemic wiped out tennis through July.

Federer had been relatively healthy the previous three years, since missing the Rio Olympics and 2016 U.S. Open due to a left knee injury. He had undergone arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus in February 2016.

Last year, Federer played the French Open for the first time since 2015, a sign that he was feeling very fit.

He played one tournament in 2020, reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open. He was swept by Novak Djokovic and said after that he went into the match believing he had a three percent chance to win coming off a groin muscle injury.

Federer is still likely to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, either by being ranked in the top 56 after the 2021 French Open (and among the top four Swiss) or by taking the one wild card place available for a past Olympic gold medalist or Grand Slam singles champion with priority given to the player with the most titles.

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Wengen’s Lauberhorn may be dropped from Alpine skiing World Cup

Wengen Lauberhorn
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WENGEN, Switzerland — The signature Alpine skiing race in Switzerland risks being dropped from the World Cup schedule because of a money dispute with the national ski federation.

Organizers of the Lauberhorn men’s downhill in Wengen traded statements with Swiss-Ski on Wednesday and confirmed their ongoing legal case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The public spat followed Swiss-Ski declining to propose the three-race Lauberhorn meeting in January 2022 on that season’s World Cup calendar managed by the International Ski Federation (FIS).

The Swiss ski body said it “cannot meet the financial demands” made by the organizing committee in Wengen.

Because of the case at CAS, the federation said it limited its risk on the 2021-22 schedule by proposing a placeholder “Switzerland” designation instead of Wengen.

Wengen has been a fixture on the men’s World Cup since the debut 1967 season, and next January’s races will be the 91st annual Lauberhorn meeting.

The Saturday downhill typically attracts 30,000 spectators to the mountain and one of Swiss television’s biggest audience ratings each year. Swiss racers have won six of the last 11 editions.

Wengen officials said the dispute centers on its share of television rights from Swiss-Ski.

They criticized an “unsportsmanlike” approach of the national federation in withdrawing the calendar proposal without consultation.

The dispute has been aired publicly as Swiss-Ski leader Urs Lehmann, a former downhill world champion, is campaigning to be president of world governing body FIS.

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Lara Gut-Behrami gets first win in 2 years; Mikaela Shiffrin’s lead shrinks

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Swiss Lara Gut-Behrami, the last woman other than Mikaela Shiffrin to win a World Cup overall title, notched her first World Cup race victory in two years on Friday. Meanwhile, chasers gained on the absent Shiffrin in this season’s overall standings.

Gut-Behrami led a host-nation one-two in a downhill in Crans-Montana. She was followed by downhill standings leader Corinne Suter (eight tenths behind) and Austrian Stephanie Venier (.92 back). Full results are here.

Shiffrin has not raced since the unexpected death of her father on Feb. 2. She has not announced if or when she will return this season.

Slovakian Petra Vlhova was fourth on Friday for her best career World Cup speed race finish. Vlhova, Shiffrin’s top rival in slalom the last few seasons, moved to 104 points behind Shiffrin in the World Cup overall standings through 27 of 40 scheduled races.

Race winners receive 100 points on a descending scale through the 30th-place skier. The season runs through March 22.

American Breezy Johnson was fifth, tying her best World Cup finish in nearly two years. Italian Federica Brignone tied for seventh, moving 77 points shy of Shiffrin’s lead.

Vlhova or Brignone can pass Shiffrin with similar finishes in Saturday’s downhill (4:30 a.m. ET, Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and NBC Sports Gold) and a podium in Sunday’s combined (7:30 a.m. ET, Olympic Channel and Gold).

Gut-Behrami, a 25-time World Cup race winner, was the world’s top skier in 2016. She was in second place to Shiffrin in the 2017 World Cup overall standings when she ruptured her left ACL and sustained meniscus damage. Shiffrin since won the last three overall titles.

Friday marked Gut-Behrami’s first win since Jan. 21, 2018. She recently went nearly one year between podium finishes.

“Sometimes, I’ve been struggling with myself and putting myself under pressure because I wanted to do it again,” Gut-Behrami said. “Then I started thinking, and then I made mistakes.”

Suter, who came into the season without a World Cup win, leads the downhill season standings by 120 points. She can clinch her first World Cup discipline title in Saturday’s penultimate downhill.

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