Nadal optimistic on Wimbledon after treating pained foot

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MADRID – Rafael Nadal will try to play at Wimbledon after going “a week without limping” thanks to new treatment on his painful left foot, the 22-time Grand Slam champion said Friday.

“My intention is to play Wimbledon,” Nadal said on his home island of Mallorca. “If things don’t go as I would like, then we will see what will happen. (But) I am happy. I have gone a week without limping.”

Nadal had said after winning his 14th French Open title almost two weeks ago that he was not sure if he could continue to play with the extreme foot pain. He was only able to finish Roland Garros after numbing his foot with painkilling shots, a method that the Spaniard said he would not like to repeat.

The mild improvement to the chronic condition that has bothered him for years came after Nadal visited a clinic in Barcelona last week to receive radiofrequency treatment to the pained nerves.

The 36-year-old Nadal has said that if this latest attempt to make his foot condition more bearable does not work he will consider surgery, a move that he admits could put the continuation of his career in question.

Nadal also spoke on his future as a first-time father after it was reported in the Spanish media this week that his wife, Maria Francisca Perello, is pregnant.

“I don’t know how it will change my life, I have no experience (being a father), but I don’t plan for it to mean a change in my professional career,” Nadal said.

Wimbledon starts on June 27.

Two of the Nadal’s men’s-record 22 Grand Slam singles titles have come at the the All England Club.

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.