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[1/2] Jan 15, 2023; Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Nick Kyrgios of Australia during a practice session on court 16 at Melbourne Park. Mandatory Credit: Mike Frey-USA TODAY SportsSYDNEY, Feb 3 (Reuters) - A common assault charge against Nick Kyrgios was dismissed in a Canberra court on Friday, despite the tennis player earlier pleading guilty. The charge related to a 2021 incident involving his former girlfriend Chiara Passari. "Just recovery, get back on court," said Kyrgios outside court when asked by a reporter about his immediate plans. "I respect today's ruling and I'm grateful to the court for dismissing the charges without conviction," he said in an Instagram post.
Fire still burning, Djokovic and GOAT debate move on to Paris
  + stars: | 2023-01-30 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +3 min
While the blue courts of Melbourne Park are undoubtedly Djokovic's domain, the red clay courts of Roland Garros are the preserve of Spaniard Nadal, the other open-era GOAT contender along with 20-times Grand Slam champion Roger Federer. Federer is now retired and sent his congratulations to Djokovic on Instagram - "Incredible effort, again!" The 36-year-old is confident he will recover from the hip flexor issue he sustained at the Australian Open in time to drag his battered body to Paris in May in a bid for a 15th French Open title. And, despite a hamstring issue that hindered him throughout the year's first Grand Slam, Djokovic left little doubt that he would also be there trying to win major number 23. I know that when I'm feeling good physically, mentally present, I have a chance to win any slam against anybody.
'Heartbreaking', Woodbridge bemoans Wimbledon doubles decision
  + stars: | 2023-01-26 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +2 min
MELBOURNE, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Nine-times Wimbledon men's doubles champion Todd Woodbridge said on Thursday it was "heartbreaking" to hear the All England Club had made the decision to cut the event to best-of-three sets rather than five from this year. "Five sets lets the best team win generally in that situation." Woodbridge won six Wimbledon men's doubles titles with compatriot Mark Woodforde in the duo known as the "Woodies" before teaming up with Swede Bjorkman for another three. American Mike Bryan, who with sibling Bob formed the most successful professional doubles team of all time, also bemoaned the decision. The 2022 Wimbledon men's doubles final took more than four hours to complete with Australian duo Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell beating Croatians Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic over five sets.
Djokovic is making a mockery of the theory that the second week of Grand Slam tournaments get tougher. Fifth seed Rublev has now lost all seven Grand Slam quarter-finals which he contested. "I'm really excited, man. So I'm really grateful." Linette had no problems serving out her quarter-final against twice Grand Slam finalist Pliskova, whose 36 unforced errors sabotaged yet another bid to win a first major.
Azarenka up for the challenge as Sabalenka seeks calm
  + stars: | 2023-01-25 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +3 min
Although Sabalenka and Magda Linette of Poland will be playing in their first semi-finals at Melbourne Park, Azarenka returns to final-four action after a decade away when she takes on Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina. Now a self-confessed "obnoxious" soccer mom, the 33-year-old Azarenka looked every inch the player who won back-to-back Australian Open titles in 2012 and 2013 when she took apart in-form third seed Jessica Pegula in the quarter-finals. "It will be a great matchup," said Belarusian Azarenka, who lost their only meeting in straight sets at Indian Wells last year. Sabalenka, who has played three previous Grand Slam semi-finals and lost them all, knows that her biggest battle on Thursday will most likely be with her own emotions. "I think it's going to be a great test for me, if I can actually keep myself calm in key moments," Sabalenka said.
Linette stuns Pliskova to reach first Grand Slam semi
  + stars: | 2023-01-25 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +1 min
[1/5] Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 25, 2023 Poland's Magda Linette celebrates after winning her quarter final match against Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova REUTERS/Carl RecineMELBOURNE, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Unheralded Pole Magda Linette continued her dream run into the semi-finals of the Australian Open on Wednesday, stunning former world number one Karolina Pliskova in a deserved 6-3 7-5 victory on Rod Laver Arena. The world number 45 played wonderfully controlled tennis in the opening set as twice Grand Slam finalist Pliskova racked up 14 unforced errors under the blazing sun on the main showcourt. Pliskova had to raise her game in the second set but Linette had the answer to everything the Czech threw at her and broke for 6-5 before serving out nervelessly for the win. Linette will battle for a place in the final against fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka or Donna Vekic, who face off in Wednesday's second women's quarter-final. Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney; Editing byOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Djokovic says injury doubters give him extra motivation
  + stars: | 2023-01-24 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +2 min
MELBOURNE, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic said any questions over whether he has genuinely been struggling with a hamstring injury at the Australian Open only give him extra strength and motivation. In his English post-match press conference, the 35-year-old said he felt as good as he had since he sustained the injury in an Adelaide warm-up tournament, but in later comments to Serbian media he rounded on the doubters. "I leave the doubting to those people; let them doubt," he said, according to the Tennis Majors website. When some other players are injured, then they are the victims, but when it is me, I am faking it. "But I am used to it, and it just gives me extra strength and motivation.
MELBOURNE, Jan 24 (Reuters) - The Azerbaijan Tennis Federation has demanded the International Tennis Federation (ITF) takes action against Karen Khachanov after the Russian sent messages of support to the breakaway Artsakh Republic from the Australian Open. The ethnically Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, known by the separatists as the Artsakh Republic, broke away from Azerbaijan with Armenian support after a bloody post-Soviet ethnic conflict in the early 1990s. In 2020, Azerbaijan launched a second war in the region, successfully winning back part of the territory controlled by the Armenian-backed separatists. Azerbaijan tennis authorities sent a letter of protest to the ITF at the weekend demanding tough measures "to punish" Khachanov and prevent him from making similar "unacceptable provocations" at tennis tournaments. Belarus is being used as a key staging ground for Russia's war in Ukraine, which Moscow terms a "special operation".
Ruthless Rybakina rolls into Australian Open semi-finals
  + stars: | 2023-01-24 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +2 min
MELBOURNE, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina became the first player into the Australian Open semi-finals after outmuscling Jelena Ostapenko 6-2 6-4 in a one-sided contest on Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday. Rybakina, who ousted top seed Iga Swiatek in the fourth round, broke straight back, however, and saved four break points with some brilliant tennis in the next game to consolidate. "I'm super happy to be in the semi-finals for the first time," said Rybakina. Ostapenko was clearly second best but might take solace at her best Grand Slam showing since she reached the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2018, a year after she won the Roland Garros title. Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney; Editing by Peter RutherfordOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Teenager Fruhvirtova knocks back Williams comparison
  + stars: | 2023-01-23 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +1 min
MELBOURNE, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Czech teenager Linda Fruhvirtova was quick to shut down an attempt to compare her and her 15-year-old sibling, Brenda, to the Williams sisters after her fairytale run at the Australian Open came to an end in the fourth round on Monday. The 17-year-old world number 82 said that while it had been "special" playing at a major tournament with her sister, comparisons with Venus and Serena Williams were more than a little premature. "Of course, it's an honour, but I wouldn't really compare us to Serena or Venus," Fruhvirtova said after losing to Donna Vekic. We can be good, and we'll see what happens, but I think it's too soon to compare us to Serena and Venus." Serena Williams won 23 Grand Slam singles titles before hanging up her racket last year, while seven-times major champion Venus missed the Australian Open because of injury.
Pliskova back in the Melbourne quarter-finals and feeling good
  + stars: | 2023-01-23 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +2 min
"I've been feeling quite good since I came to Australia," she told reporters. Only two top 10 seeds, Jessica Pegula and Aryna Sabalenka, remain in the quarter-finals, leaving Pliskova as one of the more experienced Grand Slam campaigners. "I feel like these days there is not just top 20 tough opponents, there is like 150 tough opponents," the world number 31 added. "Then the rest, Pegula, I think she's playing great tennis. "If I play like I played today, I think it's tough for anybody to compete with that.
Sabalenka powers past Bencic into last eight
  + stars: | 2023-01-23 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +3 min
[1/3] Jan 23, 2023; Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Aryna Sabalenka (R) from Belarus during her round four match against Belinda Bencic from Switzerland on day eight of the 2023 Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park. Sabalenka looks to have as good a chance as anyone of claiming a first Grand Slam title if she can conquer the demons that sometimes take hold when her power game is not working as well as she would like. "I'm super happy with the win today, she's an unbelievable player and she played so good," she said. "I'm super happy with the level today." "Just super happy with the mindset today.
All business Swiatek eases into second week at Australian Open
  + stars: | 2023-01-20 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +1 min
[1/3] Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 20, 2023 Poland's Iga Swiatek reacts during her third round match against Spain's Cristina Bucsa REUTERS/Sandra SandersMELBOURNE, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Top seed Iga Swiatek continued to carve her way through the Australian Open draw on Friday, dismantling Cristina Bucsa 6-0 6-1 in bright sunshine on the Margaret Court Arena to reach the fourth round. The 21-year-old world number one, who is looking to add a first Melbourne Park crown to the French and U.S. Open titles she won last year, was all business as she whipped through the first set in 23 minutes. World number 100 Bucsa had simply no answer to Swiatek's all-court game and the Spaniard only managed to avoid the dreaded 'double bagel' 6-0 6-0 scoreline by holding her last service game. Swiatek should face a tougher test in Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in the last 16 after the big-serving Kazakh earlier upset last year's losing finalist Danielle Collins. Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by Neil FullickOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Man on a mission, Djokovic comes through Couacaud test
  + stars: | 2023-01-19 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +3 min
Fourth seed Djokovic changed his shirt and brought in the heavy artillery to whip through the final two sets, setting up a third-round date with Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov. Djokovic's half of the draw opened for him earlier on Thursday when second seed Casper Ruud was knocked out. The 35-year-old took a medical timeout at 4-4 in the second set to have the strapping changed and later conceded that it had been troubling him. The Mauritius-born 27-year-old continued to throw everything at Djokovic and played a brilliant second set, finally coming back from 3-0 down to take the tiebreak 7-5. One fan attracted his ire in the fourth set, however, after repeatedly making noise while Djokovic was preparing to serve.
Nadal sidelined for 6-8 weeks with hip flexor injury
  + stars: | 2023-01-19 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +1 min
MELBOURNE, Jan 19 (Reuters) - World number two Rafa Nadal will be sidelined for six to eight weeks by the hip flexor injury he suffered during his second-round loss at the Australian Open, the Spaniard's team said on Thursday. read moreThe 36-year-old had an MRI scan on his left leg in Melbourne on Thursday, which revealed a grade 2 injury in the Illiopsoas, the primary hip flexor. "The normal time estimated for a complete recuperation is between six and eight weeks." In the end (it has) been three positive weeks in terms of practice," he told reporters after his defeat. A six to eight week recuperation would allow Nadal to return well before the clay court season and the run-up to the defence of his French Open title in late May and early June.
"It's quite simple, you have to put the ball in the court without missing," Auger-Aliassime laughed, explaining the transformation. So I was just trying to put one more ball in the court and make it simple, make it work." It was quite a contrast with the opening two sets when Auger-Aliassime overcooked his shots on both sides and sprayed 25 unforced errors, with Molcan gleefully taking advantage. "The numbers show it but he was just way more consistent than I was in the first two sets," Auger-Aliassime conceded. A quarter-finalist in Melbourne last year, Auger-Aliassime will next play Argentine 28th seed Francisco Cerundolo or France's Corentin Moutet.
Swiatek into third round indoors as rain stops play outside
  + stars: | 2023-01-18 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +3 min
[1/4] Jan 18, 2023; Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Iga Swiatek during her second round match against Camila Osorio on day three of the 2023 Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park. World number one Swiatek overcame Camila Osorio 6-2 6-3 under the roof on Rod Laver Arena and Italian Sinner waltzed past Tomas Etcheverry 6-3 6-2 6-2 on the similarly protected John Cain Arena. "It was really intense physically and Camila was running to every ball, she didn't give up," said Swiatek. "For sure, the level today was good, I served well, I returned good as well as I think he is a very good server so I'm very happy to be in the next round," Sinner said. "I'm very happy to play on this court with the roof, hopefully it won't rain in the next days."
Thiem, a finalist at Melbourne Park and U.S. Open champion in 2020, is on the comeback trail after a wrist injury and was able to compete only to a certain extent against the power of the rangy Russian. Thiem was simply unable to get a foothold in the contest and the 25-year-old Rublev, a quarter-finalist at the Australian Open in 2021, served out for the match after little more than two hours on court. Tennis Australia on Tuesday morning banned fans from bringing flags of either nation into the Melbourne Park precinct after a Russian tricolour was hung on a bush next to a court where Ukrainian Kateryna Baindl was playing on Monday. "It wasn't that easy a match and I'm super happy to start with a win," said the Belarusian. Novak Djokovic will begin his bid for a record-extending 10th title at Melbourne Park against Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena in the final match of the day on Rod Laver Arena.
[1/2] Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 16, 2023 General view of the first round match between Germany's Jule Niemeier and Poland's Iga Swiatek REUTERS/Carl RecineMELBOURNE, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Russian and Belarusian flags have been banned from the Melbourne Park precinct during the Australian Open after a complaint from the Ukraine ambassador to the country. "I strongly condemn the public display of the Russian flag during the game of the Ukrainian tennis player Kateryna Baindl at the Australian Open today," he wrote on Twitter. Tennis Australia responded on Tuesday by banning the flags of the two countries. "Flags from Russia and Belarus are banned onsite at the Australian Open," Tennis Australia said in a statement. Russian and Belarusian players were banned from Wimbledon last year but are able to compete as individual athletes without national affiliation at the Australian Open.
Azarenka prevails over Kenin in battle of former champions
  + stars: | 2023-01-16 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +2 min
"I also thought she was coming in with nothing to lose so I knew she was going to play well, play freely. Kenin will perhaps have been encouraged by her fighting display on Margaret Court Arena after three years blighted by injuries, illness and off-court issues. Kenin fought gamely to hold serve for 5-4 but Azarenka made no mistake when serving for the set. The second set was much tighter with the key moment coming in the tiebreak when Azarenka boomed down her fifth ace and Kenin responded lamely with a double fault. "The off season is full of blood, sweat and tears so we can go out there and do our best.
With Draper's injury reducing him to a groaning wreck, Nadal finished strongly to close out the match 7-5 2-6 6-4 6-1. With Kyrgios gone and last year's women's champion Ash Barty retired, the chances of a another home winner for local fans are greatly diminished. Seventh seed Coco Gauff also raced into the second round, while last year's finalist Danielle Collins advanced with a tougher, three-set win over Anna Kalinskaya. Briton Raducanu will next face teenager Gauff, who won in Auckland and confirmed her good form with a 6-1 6-4 win over Katerina Siniakova. Italian 15th seed Jannik Sinner, a quarter-finalist last year, was the first man to reach the second round, rolling over Briton Kyle Edmund 6-4 6-0 6-2 on John Cain Arena.
Swiatek the favourite as Melbourne Park set for new champion
  + stars: | 2023-01-13 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +3 min
MELBOURNE, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Iga Swiatek is the strong favourite to land her fourth Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, but the picture is considerably less clear if the world number one fails to live up to her top seeding. DIFFERENT PROPOSITIONSwiatek was thrashed 6-4 6-1 by Danielle Collins at Melbourne Park last year in her first hardcourt Grand Slam semi-final, and the American looms this year in the last 16 if the seedings hold. Charismatic American teenager Coco Gauff would be a popular champion, not least in the Australian Open marketing department. Last year's French Open finalist is in form, having opened the season with the title at the Auckland Open. Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina's big serve gives her a chance of a second Grand Slam title, while world number four Caroline Garcia is enjoying a late-career renaissance and won the WTA Finals on hardcourt last year.
Undercooked Nadal targets number 23 at Melbourne Park
  + stars: | 2023-01-12 | by ( Nick Mulvenney | ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +2 min
"I need to win matches for sure, but the preparation is going quite well, practising a lot and I think I am in good shape. "But I'm confident that if I am able to have this last week of positive practices, why not?" As world number two, Nadal will be top seed on his 18th trip to the Australian Open after the injury withdrawal of his young compatriot Carlos Alcaraz. He followed that up with a 14th French Open title and could forge even further ahead of Novak Djokovic (21) and the now retired Roger Federer (20) in the Grand Slam title race with a third triumph on Melbourne's famous blue courts. Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Bradley PerrettOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Tennis great and compatriot Rod Laver said after the U.S. Open that only self-belief was preventing Kyrgios from joining the Grand Slam winners' club. "I'm definitely going to go into any tournament, the Australian Open, with confidence, and I think I've proven I can go deep at a Grand Slam. 47-YEAR DROUGHTHis best run at his home major was seven years ago when he reached the quarter-finals, with fourth-round appearances in 2018 and 2020 his other ventures into the second week of the Australian Open. Ash Barty last year rode a tidal wave of support to end the long wait for a homegrown singles champion at the Australian Open - a drought that stands at 47 years for the men's title. Unlike the now-retired three-times Grand Slam champion, Kyrgios has not always been popular with all of his compatriots as a result of his frequent clashes with officialdom and fans.
Players could play at Australian Open with COVID - Tiley
  + stars: | 2023-01-09 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +2 min
MELBOURNE, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Players at this month's Australian Open will not be required to take COVID-19 tests and could play even if they had the virus, tournament director Craig Tiley said on Monday. "We just wanted to follow what's currently in the community," Tiley told reporters at Melbourne Park. Cricketer Matt Renshaw continued to play for Australia in a five-day test match against South Africa in Sydney last week despite testing positive for COVID. "We've made it clear to our players, as well as our staff, if anyone is feeling unwell, stay home," Tiley added. "It's a normalised environment for us and, not dissimilar to the cricket, there will potentially be players that will compete with COVID."
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