Wozniacki complains of verbal abuse by Miami Open crowd

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KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) Reigning Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki says she and her family were targets of verbal abuse and threats from the crowd during her opening match at the Miami Open, which she lost to Monica Puig.

In a statement Saturday posted on Twitter, Wozniacki said the tournament did nothing to prevent the abuse. Tournament director James Blake responded that while the crowd was “loud and passionate,” Miami Open staff, WTA Tour officials and courtside security were unaware during the match of any threats made.

Wozniacki lost 0-6, 6-4, 6-4 Friday night.

“I lost a tough match to a great opponent and friend Monica Puig,” Wozniacki said in her statement. “I am fully aware that tennis is a game of wins and losses. However, during the match last night people in the crowd threatened my family, wished death threats on my mom and dad, called me names that I can’t repeat here and told my fiance’s niece and nephew (who are 10 years old) to sit down and shut … up, meanwhile security and staff did nothing to prevent this and even accepted this to take place.”

Puig is from Puerto Rico and especially popular in South Florida, while Wozniacki is from Denmark.

Wozniacki complained to the chair umpire during the match about crowd noise, but Blake said the tournament was unaware of any threatening comments.

“We had tournament and WTA staff as well as tournament security courtside,” Blake said. “They never witnessed nor were they notified of any specific threats made to the players or their families. If we had been notified, the situation would have been handled immediately.”

Wozniacki became a first-time Grand Slam champion at the Australian Open in January. She said she hopes the Miami Open takes her complaints about the crowd behavior seriously.

“It’s a horrible example to set for the next generation of tennis players and fans,” she said.

More AP tennis coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Tennis

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.