Tennis superstars Roger Federer and Serena Williams will not be taking part in the ongoing season of the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL). (Latest Tennis stories)”We are sad to announce that Roger Federer and Serena Williams won’t participate at the IPTL this year,” an IPTL statement read.IPTL founder and former India player Mahesh Bhuphati said he is hopeful of bringing the legendary players back on court in future seasons.”We have had challenges this year, and we were hoping to get past them. With the current economic climate in India and the uncertainty of spending money, I reached out to both Roger and Serena to explain the situation,” Bhupathi said.”They have been both been very supportive of the IPTL the first two seasons and we look forward to bring them in future years,” he added.FEDERER TROUBLED BY KNEE INJURYThe 17-time grand slam winner was expected to make a comeback on December 10 in Hyderabad with Indian Aces.Federer played his last competitive match was against Canada’s Milos Raonic in the semi-finals of the Wimbledon this year. After that he underwent knee surgery and that ruled him out of the Rio Olympics, US Open and the ATP World Tour Finals.Federer’s season was marred with injuries. He injured his knee while bathing his twin daughters after the Australian Open in February. A back problem forced him to pull out of French Open before a knee injury ruled him out of remaining 2016.SERENA RECUPERATING SHOULDER INJURYWorld No.2 Serena has also been out of action since US Open semi-finals defeat to Karolina Pliskova. Serena, who is tied with Steffi Graf on 22 Grand Slams, pulled out of the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore in October as she wanted to focus on recuperating from a shoulder injury.advertisementSerena was expected to join the defending champions Singapore Slammers.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes criticism of Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has become “personal”, with those quick to write the Portuguese off merely jealous of his achievements.A proven winner throughout a distinguished coaching career, the man at the Old Trafford helm has faced some uncomfortable questions this season.With his side struggling for consistency and talk of dressing room divides providing an unwelcome distraction, Mourinho is having to fight fires on and off the field. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! He has offered no indication that he will be running away from those challenges, with there a desire on his part to oversee a reversal in fortune.Ibrahimovic, who has worked with the Portuguese at Inter and United, believes Mourinho remains the right man for the job, telling Sky Sports: “Everybody criticises Mourinho and I don’t think it’s because of the results, it’s because of the character, because of the way he is.“I see myself a little bit in that situation because we have our vision, we have our confidence, we believe in things, we say certain things in our own way and of course we get the blame.“We get criticised more when it’s not going good. But when it’s going good and we win, the satisfaction is bigger than the other ones.“We are ourselves, we believe in what we do and we do it until the end. That is what is going on there.“Some critics I feel are personal. Some critics are exaggerating. Some because of the one he is, other ones are jealousy.“All of this is part of the circle, so Mourinho has to just keep being himself, stand up for what he is doing, stand up for who he is and continue.“He is there because he did it his own way, because he is who he is and won’t change for nobody. I am the same. The people out there who think they are perfect, they are the biggest problem.”Ibrahimovic has also saluted another man with strong ties to United, with the Red Devils’ all-time leading goalscorer currently shining away from Old Trafford.Wayne Rooney joined the MLS ranks at D.C. United over the summer and has helped to fire them into play-off contention.Ibrahimovic, who is also in America with the LA Galaxy, said of the former England international: “I think so far he did fantastic, he changed the team he came to and they have done good results.”Before he came it was different results, but he has been playing good and scoring goals and he shows that he is Rooney.”I don’t need to describe Rooney. Everybody knows Rooney and they know his quality, so it’s only for him to play the games and perform.”
NEW YORK — Mets Manager Terry Collins called his starting pitchers into his office last weekend to talk numbers — as in six-man rotation.Matt Harvey has thrown 58 2-3 innings following his return from Tommy John surgery. NL Rookie of the Year Jacob DeGrom has pitched 55 2-3. And Noah Syndergaard, who made his big league debut on May 12, has tossed 47 in the majors and minors.New York projected out the numbers over a full season and didn’t like the totals.“If we stay with the five-man, I’m going to take you out after five innings. You guys OK with that?” Collins remembered telling the group.When they balked, he pointed to them one at a time and said: “Next month you’re going on the DL for two weeks, and you’re going on the DL for two weeks, and you’re going to go on the DL for two weeks.”“That didn’t go over very good, either,” he recalled. “The next option is none of you are pitching in September,” Collins said.When they objected again, he said the Mets had decided to go with a six-man rotation when Dillon Gee comes off the disabled list in the next week or so, joining a starting staff that also includes Bartolo Colon and Jonathon Niese.No one seems to want to emulate the Nationals, who cut Stephen Strasburg’s season short in early September 2012 following his return from elbow surgery. Washington lost to St. Louis in a five-game NL Division Series.General Manager Sandy Alderson said pitching 200-plus innings “has never really been in the cards” and called the switch “prophylactic.”“I wouldn’t call it temporary, but it’s certainly not permanent,” he said. “Let’s see how it goes.”Until the 1970s, a four-man rotation was the norm. But no pitcher has thrown 300 innings in a season since Philadelphia’s Steve Carlton in 1980. No pitcher has topped 36 starts since Atlanta’s Greg Maddux and Toronto’s Roy Halladay in 2003.“One of my closest friends is Sandy Koufax,” Collins said. “He laughs right in my face every time I talk about pitch counts and innings limits.”Across the diamond, Phillies coach Larry Bowa found the decision both startling and understandable. Bowa came up to the major leagues in 1970, when Gaylord Perry, Ferguson Jenkins, Sam McDowell and Jim Palmer all topped 300 innings — down from nine pitchers the previous season.“Now when somebody gets 200, they go, ‘Oh, this guy’s a horse,’” Bowa said. “Those guys had that in August. Let your four best guys go out there. It’s not like guys are throwing 140 pitches. As soon as they get to 100, bells and whistles go off. But I understand front-office people want to take care of the investments.”And it’s not just the old-timers who would like to go back to the routines of an earlier era.“I would like to see, especially with young pitchers, encouraging and testing the limits more to see if we could get guys going deeper in games,” said Chris Capuano, a 36-year-old left-hander on the Yankees.“They protect younger guys a lot where you sometimes can look at the sixth inning or seventh inning as the finish line. When you go out there, your goal should really be to pitch nine innings,” he said.Still, in an age when every twinge seems to get MRIed, the Mets’ stance could become more commonplace.“When you have as many younger starters as they do, it’s probably a prudent thing,” Oakland Manager Bob Melvin said.Harvey had Tommy John surgery on Oct. 22, 2013, and didn’t return until last month. DeGrom was on the DL time on the disabled list last August with right rotator cuff tendinitis. Syndergaard was on the DL at Triple-A Las Vegas from May 23 to June 5 last year with a flexor-pronator strain on the inside of his right elbow.“There’s bigger picture involved,” deGrom said. “Just trying to keep us healthy.”Collins and the Mets made the decision amid a rash of injuries. Johan Santana never was the same after throwing 134 pitches against St. Louis in June 2012 for the first no-hitter in Mets’ history.Closer Bobby Parnell is still recovering from ligament-replacement surgery in April 2014 and promising pitcher Zack Wheeler had the procedure on March 25.New York is willing to experiment with the larger rotation, even if it means playing with one fewer bench players.“I’m trying not to have any more Tommy Johns. I’m trying not to have any more sore shoulders,” Collins said. “We looked at every scenario. We mapped it out. We burned a lot of trees with a lot of paperwork, and this is what we’ve come up with. And we’ll just see how it goes.___By Ronald Blum, AP Baseball Writer.AP Baseball Writers Janie McCauley and Howie Rumberg contributed TweetPinShare0 Shares