Fri. Jan 27th, 2023

Rafael Nadal defends his Australian Open title and Novak Djokovic returns whereas Iga Swiatek heads the ladies’s discipline in Melbourne.

The absence of Carlos Alcaraz is a blow for the match in addition to the following era’s hopes of gaining extra floor within the males’s sport, and residential star Ashleigh Barty may also be missed after retiring following her 2022 triumph.

Right here, the PA information company picks out 10 gamers to look at at Melbourne Park.

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal has had a tough begin to 2023 (Mark Baker/AP)

Prime seed within the absence of his compatriot Alcaraz, Nadal returns to the scene of arguably essentially the most outstanding of his 22 grand slam victories. Fearing a power foot downside may finish his profession, Nadal as an alternative claimed his first title Down Below since 2009. The 36-year-old goes into the match on the worst run of outcomes of his profession however is a grasp at taking part in himself into kind.

Novak Djokovic

Twelve months on from the extraordinary saga of Djokovic’s deportation, it appears like enterprise as typical, with the nine-time champion scorching favorite for an additional Australian Open title. Whether or not there will likely be any hangover from his immigration travails will likely be a scorching subject however on the court docket the 35-year-old appears to be like as sturdy as ever and is very motivated so as to add extra main silverware.

Casper Ruud

Ruud was twice a match away from profitable his maiden grand slam title in 2022, shedding to his idol Nadal within the French Open ultimate after which Alcaraz on the US Open. With one of many sport’s strongest forehands and terrific athleticism, the 24-year-old Norwegian will hope to take the following step this yr.

Nick Kyrgios

Along with his run to the Wimbledon ultimate, Kyrgios proved to the tennis world – and himself – that he may be greater than an entertaining sideshow. Now 27, the risky Australian has a style for grand slam success and, after profitable a primary slam title in doubles in Melbourne final yr, will hope to problem for the singles crown.

Holger Rune

Holger Rune stormed up the rankings in 2022 (Steven Paston/PA)

With Alcaraz sidelined, the title of main teenage challenger goes to 19-year-old Dane Rune. Having began final season exterior the highest 100, Rune completed it ranked 11 after a outstanding week on the Paris Masters, the place he beat 5 top-10 gamers together with Djokovic to say the title. {The teenager} brings perspective to the court docket and is an intriguing addition to the highest ranks.

Story continues

Iga Swiatek

Iga Swiatek is bidding for a fourth grand slam title (Mark Baker/AP)

After years of instability within the girls’s sport, Swiatek seized the primary mantle following Barty’s shock retirement and made it her personal, dominating on clay after which profitable a 3rd grand slam title on the US Open. The 21-year-old Pole is much less of a positive factor on laborious courts however confirmed her aggressive mettle in New York and is a transparent favorite.

Ons Jabeur

Trendy Tunisian Jabeur proved Swiatek’s closest challenger in 2022 – albeit not very shut. Blazing a path for Arab and African girls, Jabeur is peaking in her late 20s and can look to achieve a 3rd consecutive grand slam ultimate. An exuberant presence on and off the court docket, the 28-year-old is a giant asset for the ladies’s sport.

Jessica Pegula

Jessica Pegula shocked Iga Swiatek on the United Cup (Mark Baker/AP)

The American primary however nonetheless very a lot a participant below the radar. Pegula has made the quarter-finals at 4 of the final 5 slams with out going additional. The 28-year-old, whose household personal the Buffalo Payments and Buffalo Sabres, heads to Melbourne filled with confidence after beating Swiatek on the United Cup.

Caroline Garcia

What a 2022 for 29-year-old Frenchwoman Garcia, who pulled herself out of the doldrums and climbed from 74 within the rankings to 4. She broke new floor by reaching the semi-finals of the US Open after which ended the season by profitable her greatest profession title on the WTA Finals.

Linda Fruhvirtova

The unending manufacturing line of Czech feminine expertise is among the wonders of tennis. The most recent crop is led by 18-year-old Linda Noskova and the Fruhvirtova sisters – 17-year-old Linda and 15-year-old Brenda. Noskova fell in qualifying however Brenda will make her grand slam debut alongside Linda, who already has a WTA title to her title.

By Admin

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