Bad news for tennis fans

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Bad news for tennis fans

From Comcast SportsNet
NEW YORK (AP) -- Rafael Nadal's Grand Slam count will stay stuck at 11 for now, sidetracked by another knee problem. The third-ranked Spaniard withdrew from the U.S. Open on Wednesday. Tendinitis has kept him out of action since his stunning loss at Wimbledon in late June. The injury already forced him out of the London Olympics, where he was supposed to defend his title and carry Spain's flag in the opening ceremony. "I am very sad to announce that I am not ready to play the US Open in NY. Thanks to my fans for their support and specially, the new yorkers," Nadal wrote on his Twitter account. Nadal is still only 26, but the withdrawals raise questions about the future of a player who has had recurring knee problems in the past. His 11 Grand Slam titles include a record seven on the red clay of the French Open, yet his hard-charging, hard-hitting style of play takes a toll on his body, particularly his knees. Roger Federer, in contrast, has played in every Grand Slam tournament since the start of 2000, a streak of 51 in a row. In 2009, Nadal missed Wimbledon because of aching knees shortly after falling in the round of 16 at the French Open -- the only time in eight appearances he hasn't won at Roland Garros. He was just the second men's champion in 35 years to decline to defend his title at the All England Club. But Nadal eventually came back stronger than ever from that layoff. After failing to reach the final at the 2009 U.S. Open and 2010 Australian Open, he won the French to start a run of three straight major titles, capped by completing the career Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows. Nadal's absence immediately leaves a trio of heavy favorites at the last Grand Slam event of the year: defending champion Novak Djokovic; five-time U.S. Open winner and currently top-ranked Federer; and 2008 U.S. Open runner-up Andy Murray, who won the gold medal in singles at the London Games by beating Federer in the final. Nadal lost in the U.S. Open final to Djokovic last year, part of a stretch of three straight defeats to the Serb in championship matches at major tournaments. But he seemed to be closing the gap, and at Roland Garros in June, he beat Djokovic in the final for his record seventh title there. Then came the stunning loss at Wimbledon, and Nadal hasn't played since. On June 28, 100th-ranked Lukas Rosol upset him in the second round at the All England Club. Shortly after that defeat, Nadal canceled a scheduled charity match against Djokovic in Spain, citing tendon problems in his left knee. The two-week U.S. Open starts Aug. 27. "Rafa has informed us that he will not be ready to compete at the U.S. Open this year and has withdrawn from the tournament," tournament director David Brewer said in a statement on Wednesday. "We hope to see him back on the court soon and look forward to his return to New York next year."

Venus Williams to play with Washington Kastles; Watch live on CSN

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USA TODAY Sports

Venus Williams to play with Washington Kastles; Watch live on CSN

Fresh off of her Wimbledon final performance, Venus Williams is set to make her first home appearance of the season for the Washington Kastles this week. 

Heading into the final week of their home schedule, the Kastles have announced that Williams will play in the contest against the Springfield Lasers on Tuesday, July 25. Already the organization has announced that the match that will take place at the Charles E. Smith Center in Foggy Bottom is sold-out. 

This will be the sixth appearance for the older Williams sister on the Kastles roster.

The seven-time major champion will be joined on Tuesday by 2017 Wimbledon semi-finalist Sam Querrey, Bruno Soares, Treat Huey, Anastasia Rodionova, and Madison Brengle.

The entire contest between the Kastles and Lasers will be broadcasted live on Comcast Mid-Atlantic and online through CSNMA's live player. Match play and coverage is set to begin at 7:00 p.m. ET.

So far the Kastles are 3-3 in World Team Tennis Standings heading into their Monday night match against the Philadelphia Freedoms. 

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Redskins' Jay Gruden ranked highest of all NFC East coaches by For The Win

Redskins' Jay Gruden ranked highest of all NFC East coaches by For The Win

Jay Gruden doesn't always get a lot of attention from national media, which should be considered something of a victory for the Redskins after all of the focus on his predecessor Mike Shanahan. 

But looking at Gruden's work over three years, he does deserve some recognition for taking the team from 4-12 his first season to consecutive winning records, including an NFC East title in 2015. 

Steven Ruiz, writing for USA TODAY's For The Win, gave the Redskins coach some love in a ranking of all 32 NFL head coaches. 

He slotted Gruden at No. 12, above all other NFC East coaches. 

Ruiz cites Gruden's unflappability amid personnell and front office changes, as well as his development of Kirk Cousins into a franchise quarterback in a very productive Redskins offense. 

MORE REDSKINS: Pair of Redskins rookies could start season on NFI list

Ruiz ranks Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett at No. 16, reasoning that it's not hard to succeed when you pair one of the best offensive lines in the league with superstar rookies Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott. 

New York's Ben McAddo and Philadelphia's Doug Pederson rank No. 21 and 26, respectively. 

Interestingly, two Redskins offensive coordinators who've since taken head coaching jobs – Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay – fall way behind at No. 29 and 30. Both coaches have been rumored draws for Cousins once he hits free agency in 2018. 

Going back to Gruden, he deserves credit beyond giving Cousins the starting QB job. He's become well-liked and respected by Washington's players despite dealing with big-personality additions like DeSean Jackson and Josh Norman.

After the Redskins finished his first season with a 4-12 record, the team rebounded to win the NFC East in 2015 and then narrowly missed the playoffs with an 8-7 record in 2016. 

If Cousins plays up to his one-year, $24 million franchise tag, Gruden has a chance to continue building his coaching reputation.