Paire plays in Hamburg after earlier positive virus test

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
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HAMBURG, Germany — French tennis player Benoit Paire was allowed to compete at the Hamburg Open despite twice testing positive for the coronavirus, he said Wednesday.

Paire retired from his opening-round match while trailing Casper Ruud 6-4, 2-0 on Wednesday with what the ATP Tour said was “dizziness.”

Paire withdrew from the U.S. Open after testing positive and spending more than a week in isolation. He then played at the Italian Open last week, losing in the first round.

According to German news agency dpa, Paire said he twice tested positive while in Hamburg but then had a negative test. Paire said he was not sure if he would play at the French Open, which begins Sunday, and would end his season early if he wasn’t allowed to compete.

The ATP and local organizers defended the decision to let Paire play. The ATP said that Paire “was cleared to compete at the tournament in compliance with local health regulations and ATP protocols” after medical analysis.

“According to tournament doctor Dr. Volker Carrero, it is not uncommon that three weeks after a positive result, fragments of the virus can still be found inside the body,” the Hamburg Open said in a statement. “Paire has not shown any symptoms of disease and has not been contagious at any time. Local health authorities in Hamburg made the decision on Saturday that Paire is allowed to play.”

Second-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas wrapped up a 6-3, 6-1 win against Dan Evans in one hour, bouncing back from a first-round loss at the Italian Open last week. The Greek player faces qualifier Pablo Cuevas in the second round.

Roberto Bautista Agut, seeded fourth, came from a break down in the deciding set to beat Dominik Koepfer 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. Bautista Agut’s quarterfinal opponent is Andrey Rublev, who beat Tommy Paul 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 in their second-round match. Rublev only landed 39 percent of his first serves in the deciding set, but the fifth-seeded Russian broke the American three times in a row.

Cristian Garin stayed on course for his third clay-court title of 2020 with a 6-2, 7-6 (3) win over Yannick Hanfmann to set up a quarterfinal with Kazakh player Alexander Bublik.

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

Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports
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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.