Nadal puts end to 2016 season because of left wrist injury

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MADRID (AP) Rafael Nadal is cutting short his 2016 season so he can fully recover from a left wrist injury.

The 14-time Grand Slam champion said Thursday he is still bothered by the injury that kept him out of action for more than two months this season and wants to treat it properly before coming back in 2017.

“Now it is time to rest and start preparing intensively (for) the 2017 season,” the 30-year-old Spaniard said in a statement.

Nadal said he will miss indoor tournaments in Basel, Switzerland, next week and Paris next month. He is also ruled out of the season-ending ATP Finals in London next month.

Nadal said he forced his recovery to be able to play in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics and that caused him to be in pain in every tournament since then.

Nadal has slipped to No. 6 in the rankings. He won back-to-back clay-court titles in Barcelona and Monte Carlo last spring but has not won any tournaments since then.

The statement said the original injury healed properly but the pain in the wrist area kept bothering him and kept him from performing at 100 percent.

“It is no secret that I arrived to the Olympic Games short of preparation and not fully recovered, but the goal was to compete and win a medal for Spain,” he said. “This forced recovery has caused me pain since then and now I am forced to stop and start preparing the 2017 season.”

Nadal won the doubles gold medal in Rio. He lost in the singles semifinals and also in the third-place match.

The injury had forced Nadal to withdraw from the French Open before the third round and skip Wimbledon altogether.

“I am very saddened for not being able to play next week in Basel since I have a great memory of the tournament and the final played against Roger Federer last year,” he said. “I won’t be able to compete either in Paris-Bercy, where the crowds and the staff have always treated me so well.”

Novak Djokovic to start 2023 in Adelaide ahead of Australian Open

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MELBOURNE, Australia – Novak Djokovic will open his 2023 campaign in Adelaide as he prepares for a shot at a 10th Australian Open crown a year after having his visa revoked on the eve of his title defense.

The 21-time major winner has been granted a visa by the Australian government and has been listed to play at the Adelaide International, which starts Jan. 1.

Serbia isn’t contesting the inaugural United Cup team competition, leaving Djokovic free to play regular warmup tournaments head of the Jan. 16-29 Australian Open.

He’ll be joined in the men’s draw at Adelaide by Russians Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada and Andy Murray.

Ons Jabeur, Aryna Sabalenka will headline the women’s draw.

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles last month confirmed Djokovic had been granted a visa to compete in Australia in January. The 35-year-old Serbian had been facing a possible three-year ban after being deported last January over his stance against COVID-19 vaccination.

Djokovic has won the Australian Open a record nine times, including the last three times he played. Rafael Nadal won this year’s title in Djokovic’s absence.

Djokovic was not vaccinated against COVID-19 when he arrived in Melbourne ahead of the 2022 tournament, but Australia has since lifted strict rules for unvaccinated travelers.

Karolina Pliskova reuniting with Sascha Bajin

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Two-time Grand Slam finalist Karolina Pliskova is reuniting with coach Sascha Bajin ahead of the 2023 season.

Pliskova posted on her website and her Twitter account about the move, which comes about six months after she and Bajin stopped working together. The pair originally teamed up in November 2020.

While Bajin was her coach, Pliskova reached the final at Wimbledon in 2021 before losing to champion Ash Barty. Pliskova also was the runner-up at the 2016 U.S. Open, where she defeated Serena Williams in the semifinals before being beat by Angelique Kerber for the trophy.

After splitting from Bajin in July, Pliskova was coached by Leos Friedl. Their results together included a quarterfinal run at the U.S. Open.

Bajin has worked as a coach or hitting partner with several top tennis players, including Grand Slam title winners Williams, Naomi Osaka, Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki.

“Thank you for having me back,” Bajin wrote on Twitter. “Let’s go get it.”

Pliskova is a 30-year-old from the Czech Republic who reached No. 1 in the WTA rankings in 2017 and finished this season at No. 31 after going 21-21 with no titles.

Her team also includes fitness specialist Jez Green and physiotherapist Martin Salvador.

Next year’s first Grand Slam tournament, the Australian Open, begins Jan. 16.