Wimbledon, England Defending champion Rafael Nadal withdrew from Wimbledon on Friday because of tendinitis in his knees.
He is the first reigning Wimbledon men’s champion to not defend the title since Goran Ivanisevic in 2002 — and only the second in the last 35 years. The grass-court Grand Slam tournament begins Monday.
“I’m just not 100 percent,” the No. 1-ranked Nadal said during a news conference at the All England Club. “I’m better than I was a couple of weeks ago, but I just don’t feel ready.”
His announcement came about 21⁄2 hours after he lost to Stanislas Wawrinka in an exhibition match on grass at the Hurlingham Club in south London.
“Today was the last test,” Nadal said. “I didn’t feel terrible but not close to my best.”
He also lost an exhibition there Thursday against 2002 Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt — and, coincidentally, Friday’s draw for this year’s tournament set those two up for a second-round meeting.
Nadal looked ragged during his straight-set loss against Hewitt on Thursday. But the Spaniard appeared in better condition against Wawrinka, several times racing toward the net for sharp volleys or scurrying along the baseline for winning groundstrokes on the run.
Still, Nadal said he just did not sense that he could win Wimbledon — and so he did not want to compete at all.
“When I start a tournament like Wimbledon, it is to try to win, and my feeling right now is I’m not ready to play to win,” the six-time major champion said.
Nadal has complained about his knees since a fourth-round loss to Robin Soderling at the French Open on May 31 ended his streak of four consecutive championships at Roland Garros.
OU taps Roddick’s brother
Norman, Okla. — John Roddick has been hired as the men’s tennis coach at Oklahoma. The brother of former U.S. Open winner Andy Roddick was hired Friday to take over the Sooners team guided by Paul Lockwood for the past 22 years.
Safina falls at Ordina
Den Bosch, Netherlands — Defending champion Tamarine Tanasugarn upset top-ranked Dinara Safina, 7-5, 7-5, on Friday in the semifinals of the Ordina Open. Tamarine, who beat Safina in last year’s final, will play Belgian teenager Yanina Wickmayer today. Wickmayer defeated Francesca Schiavone 7-6 (3), 2-6, 6-3.
Williamses could play final
Wimbledon, England — The Williams sisters could be set for another Wimbledon final after they were placed in separate halves of the bracket in Friday’s draw.
Defending women’s champion Venus Williams may have to overcome top-ranked Dinara Safina in the semifinals, while Serena Williams could play fourth-ranked Elena Dementieva in the semis.
Mayfield hearing July 1
Charlotte, N.C. — Jeremy Mayfield’s next chance to have his indefinite drug suspension lifted will be at a July 1 hearing in federal court. U.S. District Court Judge Graham Mullen has added Mayfield’s preliminary injunction request to his calendar. If the ruling goes in his favor, Mayfield could possibly compete that weekend at Daytona International Speedway.
Mayfield has been suspended since May 9 for failing a random drug test. He sued 20 days later, and NASCAR moved the case to federal court a week after that.
F1 to sue potential rivals
Silverstone, England — Formula One intends to sue the eight teams that announced plans for a rival series next season — the biggest crisis to engulf the sport since the championship began in 1950.
The governing body accused the Formula One Teams Association of “serious violations of law.” The breakaway came after Ferrari, championship leader Brawn GP and six other teams failed to resolve a dispute over the introduction of a budget cap for next season.
Ferrari has been part of Formula One from the outset. In addition to Brawn GP, the rebel group includes McLaren, Renault, Toyota, BMW Sauber, Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso. F1 would lose some of its biggest names to the rival series, including reigning world champ Lewis Hamilton, championship leader Jenson Button of Brawn, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull rising star Sebastian Vettel.
Truck race postponed
West Allis, Wis. — The Camping World Truck series race at the Milwaukee Mile has been postponed by rain and is rescheduled for this afternoon. Heavy showers swept through the Milwaukee area for the second night in a row, forcing series officials to postpone the race until 12:30 p.m. today.
Vickers claims pole
Sonoma, Calif. — Brian Vickers has won his second consecutive pole with a strong run Friday through the road course at Infineon Raceway. Vickers posted a lap of 93.678 mph in a Toyota to win his fourth pole of the season. He also won the pole last weekend at Michigan, where he finished ninth.
He edged defending race winner Kyle Busch, who ran a lap at 93.415 mph to qualify second. Marcos Ambrose qualified third to give Toyotas the top three qualifying spots.
Tigers reward Leyland
Detroit — The Detroit Tigers have extended manager Jim Leyland’s contract through the 2011 season. The club announced the two-year contract extension Friday. The 64-year-old Leyland is in his fourth season managing the Tigers. He has a 292-260 record during his time with the team and led Detroit to the American League pennant in 2006.
Clemens might write book
Houston — Roger Clemens might write a book to get his side of the story out in his nasty dispute with Brian McNamee, his former trainer. McNamee has accused Clemens of using steroids and human growth hormone, charges the seven-time Cy Young Award winner denies.
Kosar files for bankruptcy
Miami — Former NFL and Miami Hurricanes quarterback Bernie Kosar has filed for bankruptcy protection in Miami. Kosar’s Chapter 11 filing Friday lists assets between $1 million and $10 million and liabilities of between $10 million and $50 million. Kosar owes almost $1.5 million in “unsecured debt” to the Cleveland Browns, who he played for from 1985 to 1993.
Leaf surrenders on charges
Canyon, Texas — Former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf has surrendered to Texas authorities to face burglary and drug-related charges. Leaf’s attorney, Bill Kelly, says Leaf turned himself in Friday at the Randall County Jail in Canyon, where the former No. 2 pick was indicted in May after coaching quarterbacks at West Texas A&M; for three seasons. Kelly says Leaf posted $15,000 bail and headed back to Washington state.
Vikings waive three
Eden Prairie, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings have waived quarterback Sean Glennon, offensive lineman Bobby Lepori and tight end Nick Walker. All three were signed as rookie free agents after not being drafted in April. Glennon played at Virginia Tech, Lepori at Fresno State and Walker at Alabama.
Bryant says he’s staying
El Segundo, Calif. — Kobe Bryant said he plans to stay with the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers even he if opts out of his contract this summer. Phil Jackson said his health will dictate whether he returns as coach. Bryant met with Jackson and general manager Mitch Kupchak for an individual exit interview Friday.
Nowitzki seeks custody
Dallas — Dallas Mavericks standout Dirk Nowitzki has filed court papers seeking sole custody of his former girlfriend’s unborn child should genetic testing proves he’s the father. The June 12 petition, obtained by the Beaumont Enterprise newspaper and posted on its Web site, has since been sealed.
Exhibition set for Taiwan
New York — The NBA will play its first game in Taiwan this fall. The league said Friday the Denver Nuggets would face the Indiana Pacers on Oct. 8 in an exhibition game at Taipei Arena. Taipei will become the seventh Asian city to play host to an NBA game.
Valverde’s appeal set
Lausanne, Switzerland — Sport’s highest court will hear Alejandro Valverde’s appeal to overturn a doping ban that stops him from riding in the Tour de France. The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Friday it would try to schedule the case as soon as possible.