Kyrgios to play Davis Cup for Australia, despite probation

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SYDNEY — Australia captain Lleyton Hewitt said he’s willing to overlook Nick Kyrgios’s recent outbursts on the ATP Tour, selecting the talented but wayward star for the revamped Davis Cup finals.

Kyrgios is serving a six-month probation on the ATP Tour after a meltdown at the Cincinnati tournament and calling the ATP “pretty corrupt” during the U.S. Open in August.

The suspended sentence applies only to the ATP Tour and not Davis Cup competition. Hewitt said he’s confident the 24-year-old Kyrgios will be on his best behavior at the 18-team Davis Cup finals in Madrid from Nov. 18-24.

Hewitt said Kyrgios’s latest ban hadn’t affected his decision to select the player for the Australian team, drawn in a group with Belgium and Colombia.

The Australia team also includes No. 28 Alex de Minaur, Jordan Thompson, John Millman and doubles specialist John Peers.

“I feel like on the Davis Cup court he’s done absolutely everything I’ve needed in the past; he hasn’t put a foot wrong,” Hewitt said. “There’s a lot of things he does in a team environment that I actually think we will see the best of him.”

Hewitt, a two-time Davis Cup winner with Australia, said Kyrgios had withdrawn from recent tournaments with a shoulder injury.

“After the Laver Cup he had a shoulder (or) collarbone injury, which he’s pretty much over now. But he had to take a few weeks out as he felt like if he kept playing that was going to jeopardize his chances of possibly playing Davis Cup,” Hewitt said.

“He comes in a little bit underdone, but I’m fortunate he’s a guy who can light it up when he needs to. I think he’s a guy that this format will suit.”

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.