Van Uytvanck hoping Wimbledon run has positive impact

AP Photo
0 Comments

LONDON (AP) Alison Van Uytvanck is hoping her run to the second week of Wimbledon can give young gay people more confidence.

The Belgian, who in March said that she was in a relationship with another woman, advanced to the fourth round at the All England Club for the first time with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Anett Kontaveit on Saturday.

The 47th-ranked Van Uytvanck had only won one match in her four previous main-draw appearances at Wimbledon, but announced her presence with a second-round victory over defending champion Garbine Muguruza on Thursday.

“I didn’t come out because I wanted to be a role model,” Van Uytvanck said. “I’m just happy that I could hopefully get younger people to have confidence to just come out.”

Van Uytvanck has reached the second week of a Grand Slam before – she was a quarterfinalist at the French Open in 2015.

However, outside of that tournament and this one, she has only amassed three Grand Slam wins.

Her partner Greet Minnen – who is also a Belgian tennis player, ranked 546th – has been courtside throughout the tournament.

“We’re a good team,” Van Uytvanck said. “She’s also a tennis player. … So it’s really good she understands the game.”

There was also a timely element to Van Uytvanck achieving her career-best performance at Wimbledon.

While she was on court, tens of thousands of people had begun participating in a parade celebrating Britain’s LGBT community in the city center.

With a fourth-round match against 14th-seeded Daria Kasatkina of Russia to come on Monday, Van Uytvanck wasn’t ready for any celebrations.

“Somebody told me it’s the Pride (parade) today,” Van Uytvanck said with a laugh. “But I will just get some rest.”

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

Djokovic to start 2023 in Adelaide ahead of Australian Open

Getty Images
0 Comments

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

Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports
1 Comment

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.