Andy Murray withdraws from Citi Open, will miss Toronto

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WASHINGTON — After playing until 3 a.m., then sobbing into a towel, Andy Murray made it clear he was not pleased with the prospect of having to play again so soon. Sure enough, he did not, instead withdrawing from his Citi Open quarterfinal Friday.

Murray won a trio of three-setters, each lasting at least 2 1/2 hours, at the hard-court tuneup for the U.S. Open, part of his comeback from surgery on his right hip.

The three-time major champion cited fatigue when he pulled out of the Citi Open, hours before he was supposed to face 19-year-old Alex de Minaur for a semifinal berth. He also announced Friday that he was going to skip next week’s Toronto Masters.

Murray’s 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-6 (4) third-round victory over Marius Copil began at midnight and ended just past 3 a.m. on Friday, with about 100 or so spectators in the main stadium. Afterward, Murray told a small group of reporters that he “potentially” could withdrew from the tournament.

“Finishing matches at 3 in the morning is not good. It’s not good for the players. It’s not good for anyone, I don’t think, involved in the event. It’s not good for fans, TV. Nobody,” said Murray, a former No. 1 who had an operation on his right hip in January.

Currently ranked 832nd, Murray ended an 11-month absence from the tour in June, playing just three matches before arriving at the Citi Open.

“I’m giving my view right now as someone who’s just come back from a very, very long injury layoff. I don’t think I should be put in a position like that, when you’re expected to come out and perform the next day. I don’t think it’s reasonable,” Murray said. “And I’m disappointed with that, because I know that the weather’s tricky and I know it is for the scheduling, but it’s a very difficult position to be in.”

Thursday’s play at the hard-court tuneup for the U.S. Open was delayed at the outset by about 3 1/2 hours because of rain.

Showers earlier in the week jumbled the schedule and forced some other men to play two matches on Thursday.

Asked after beating Copil how his body is holding up, Murray replied: “It doesn’t feel great, just now.”

“I don’t know how you are expected to recover from that. By the time you’re done with all your recovery and stuff, it’s going to be 5:30, 6 o’clock in the morning. I’d obviously try and sleep as late as I can, but with the way your body clock is and stuff, you know, you might get a few hours’ sleep,” Murray said. “It’s not good. And it’s basically like playing two matches in a day.”

After taking a 5-0 lead in the opening-set tiebreaker, Murray dropped seven consecutive points to hand the lead over to Copil.

But, yelling at himself or his coach rather frequently, Murray came all the way back to win and improve to 4-2 in his comeback.

When he got to the sideline after the match concluded, he covered his face with a towel and cried, his chest heaving.

“Just the emotions coming out at the end of an extremely long day,” Murray said, “and a long match.”

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.