Connecticut Open leaving New Haven

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The Connecticut Open tennis tournament is leaving New Haven after a 21-year run in the city, organizers said Friday.

The operators of the tournament have sold the sanction for the WTA event to APG, a sports and entertainment company that is planning to put on a tournament in September in Zhengzhou, China.

The financial model of the Connecticut Open was no longer viable, organizers said. The Tennis Foundation of Connecticut said it is exploring whether another professional tennis event can be drawn to the city.

“It has been an amazing 21-year run for women’s professional tennis in New Haven, and we are truly grateful to all the fans, volunteers, players, media and sponsors involved,” tournament director Anne Worcester said.

The tournament traditionally has taken place in August, the final WTA tuneup before the U.S. Open.

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp said the tournament has helped to boost the city financially and bring it global attention since it began in 1998.

“We remain hopeful that professional tennis will return to New Haven in the very near future,” Harp said.

The tournament’s finances have been tenuous for several years and it nearly moved out of state before Connecticut bought the rights to the tournament in 2013 for $618,000. In 2017, the state completed a $2.5 million renovation of the facility where the tournament is held in hopes of getting more out of the venue than just the tennis event.

“It stayed in New Haven due to efforts by many people when there was almost certainty five years ago that it would leave for another state. Five additional years of economic impact, marketing of the state around the world, and year-round community outreach programs is something to be celebrated,” said Mark Ojakian, who helped to save the tournament when he was former Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s chief of staff.

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.