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Novak Djokovic withdraws from ATP Cup, heightening doubts of his Australian Open participation

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Novak Djokovic withdrew from the ATP Cup on Wednesday, furthering speculation of the world No. 1 also missing the upcoming Australian Open.  The ATP declined to give a reason for Djokovic’s withdrawal, and the 20-time Grand Slam winner is not dealing with any known injuries. 

The ATP Cup will begin Jan. 1 in Sydney, just 16 days before the Australian Open’s start in Melbourne. Dusan Lajovic will replace Djokovic on Serbia’s roster for the ATP Cup, a team event featuring 16 countries. 

Djokovic’s COVID-19 vaccination status could very well have factored into his decision. The ATP Cup didn’t establish a vaccination mandate, but the Australian Open is requiring every player get jabbed — or a medical exemption — to compete. Djokovic has repeatedly refused to say whether he’s vaccinated. 

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While speaking to Melbourne media last week, Australian Open director Craig Tiley was adamant his tournament won’t allow unvaccinated players’ participation — regardless of their star status. 

“If Novak shows up at the Australian Open, he’ll either be vaccinated or he’ll have a medical exemption,” Tiley said, per The Guardian.

Djokovic, the defending Australian Open champion, is on the tournament’s entry list despite doubts of his participation. He’s won the Grand Slam event nine times including last year. 

In late November, Srdjan Djokovic, Novak’s father, told Serb TV his son would “probably” miss his chance to defend his Australian Open title over the tournament’s vaccination mandate. 

“Under these blackmails and conditions, he probably won’t [play]. I wouldn’t do that. And he’s my son, so you decide for yourself,” Srdjan Djokovic said, according to BBC Sport. “… As far as vaccines and non-vaccines are concerned, it is the personal right of each of us whether we will be vaccinated or not. … No one has the right to enter into our intimacy.”

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Djokovic’s 20 Grand Slam singles titles are tied with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer for the most ever. All three players are skipping the Australian Open, the latter two with injuries. 



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Stat Proves What The White Sox Offense Is Lacking

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(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

 

The Chicago White Sox, against all odds, are playing .500 ball at the time.

They are 56-56, which is highly disappointing since they were widely expected to comfortably take the AL Central division like they did last year.

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Of course, unexpected circumstances have gotten in the way: injuries, slumps, demotions, a lack of action at the deadline, and other scenarios have undoubtedly affected the Sox.

The most interesting part is that they are still very much alive in the playoff race.

Before Friday, they are 3.5 games behind the division leaders, the Cleveland Guardians.

That is definitely not an insurmountable difference.

They will need to show some thump with the bat, though.

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“705 of the White Sox’s first 1,000 hits this year were singles. Most recent teams to finish a season with at least 70% of their hits being singles: 2018 Marlins (63-98), 2016 Marlins (79-82), 2015 Marlins (71-91), 2015 Braves (67-95). The Tigers also are on pace to join this list,” stats guru Jeremy Frank tweeted on Friday.

 

The White Sox Lineup Lacks Punch

As you can see, hitting mostly singles doesn’t exactly correlate with a lot of wins: all of the aforementioned teams were under .500.

The White Sox are currently at .500, but they won’t make the playoffs if they can’t show some slug.

At the moment, they rank 18th in MLB in slugging percentage, with a disappointing .386.

The almighty Sox, lauded as one of the best lineups of the last few years, are 25th in homers with just 98 so far.

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That’s definitely something they will need to change if they want to repeat as AL Central champs.

The Guardians and the Minnesota Twins, Chicago’s main competitors for a place in the postseason, are prepared to fight until the very end to be in October.

The post Stat Proves What The White Sox Offense Is Lacking appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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Will OBJ sign with Rams, Cowboys, Packers or elsewhere? | SPEAK FOR YOURSELF

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Odell Beckham Jr. is coming off a Super Bowl season and looking to sign to an NFL team as a free agent. Who will he suit up for next season and could he return to the Los Angeles Rams? Emmanuel Acho and David Helman predict where OBJ lands next year.



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Twins Fan Explains The New Carlos Correa Report

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(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

 

On Friday, a report came out explaining that Minnesota Twins shortstop Carlos Correa will likely opt out of his current deal to pursue a bigger, longer pay day in free agency.

Correa signed a three-year deal worth $105.3 million before the season started, but that contract had several catches.

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The talented shortstop had an opt out clause after each of the seasons of his deal.

Players often do this to have the option of re-testing the market if they have a great year.

Correa’s camp made sure he had the option of entering free agency again: in case of injury or something unexpected, he could always opt into the rest of the deal.

It looks like he is going to be free to sign with any team again after the World Series.

Twins fans completely understand the situation, and actually see some positives if Correa decides to leave.

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“This has always been the case. This always will be the case. The only way Correa is back with the #MNTwins in his CURRENT contract is if he gets hurt. If he opts in, it’s a very bad thing for the twins. They can have him back if they want, but it’s going to take a new deal,” Twins Farm Report tweeted.

 

Correa Will Hope For A Longer Deal

Correa hasn’t always been healthy, but when he has been on the field, he has been productive.

He is hitting .264/.340/.427 with 13 home runs, a 120 wRC+ (100 is average) and 1.6 Wins Above Replacement (WAR).

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He has been good on offense and defense, which is what the Twins expected.

As the tweet says, it’s not out of the question that he returns to Minnesota, a blossoming club with playoff chances for the next few years.

However, it would be on a longer deal, perhaps with a lower average annual value (AAV).

The post Twins Fan Explains The New Carlos Correa Report appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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