Following an exciting start to the 2023 season, with the US winning the inaugural United Cup, the world’s best players head to Melbourne for the Australian Open. ATPTour.com looks at 10 things to watch during the first Grand Slam of the season.
1. Nadal as reigning champion: A year ago, Rafael Nadal lifted his second Australian Open after coming back from straight sets against Daniil Medvedev in an epic final. The first seeded Spaniard returns to Melbourne with the intention of conquering a 23rd Grand Slam crown.
After starting the season with losses to Britain’s Cameron Norrie and Australia’s Alex de Minaur in the United Cup, the World No. 2 will seek his first win of the year when he faces Britain’s #NextGenATP Jack Draper in a demanding opening round.
Novak Djokovic has not lost on Australian soil since 2018, when he was defeated by Hyeon Chung in the fourth round of the first major of the year. The Serb is attempting to extend his record with a 10th Australian Open crown and match Nadal’s record of 22 Grand Slams.
Novak arrives in top form, having lifted his 92nd Adelaide ATP 250 title last week. The fourth seed, who starts in the opposite half of the draw to Nadal, will debut against the Spanish Roberto Carballés Baena.
3) Battle for World No. 1: Djokovic, Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas will enter the tournament knowing that they would become No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings by lifting the trophy in Melbourne. World No. 3 Ruud can also take the top spot by reaching the final, as long as neither Djokovic nor Tsitsipas win the title.
Daniil Medvedev will try to complete his great goal on the courts of Melbourne. After signing his best level in the tournament in recent years, losing in the final to Djokovic in 2021 and Nadal in 2022, he will look for a new opportunity.
Having reached the semifinals in Adelaide last week, Medvedev will try to follow up on that result at the Australian Open and lift his second Grand Slam cup.
Djokovic is being «more cautious»
Tennis legend Novak Djokovic recently gave an update on his hamstring injury.
«Well, I’ve been struggling with it a bit, to be honest, the last seven days. But I hope it’s not the biggest concern. So far I’ve been able to train, compete and play points, practice sets. So that’s a positive sign. Djokovic said.
«Obviously I’m being a bit more cautious. I’m not pushing myself to the max in training sessions, conserving energy for next week. Hopefully it won’t cause me any problems then,» he said.