Rivals Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have been positioned on reverse halves of the Australian Open bracket, that means the house owners of a mixed 43 Grand Slam singles titles can solely meet within the closing at Melbourne Park.
Djokovic, a nine-time champion in Australia, returns to the arduous court docket event after lacking it final 12 months when his visa was revoked and he was deported from the nation as a result of he is not vaccinated towards COVID-19. He additionally could not compete on the 2022 US Open.
Fourth-seeded Djokovic will open his bid for a tenth Australian Open title towards Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena within the event which begins on Monday.
Iga Swiatek, the ladies’s No.1-ranked participant, takes on German Jule Niemeier, who’s ranked No.68, within the opening spherical. The Polish participant was a semi-finalist at Melbourne Park in 2022, a 12 months through which she gained the French and US Open titles.
However the primary first spherical focus will probably be on Nadal, who faces a probably difficult match towards British participant Jack Draper. Draper, who’s 21, was a semi-finalist within the Subsequent Gen Championships in November and also will play in a semi-final of the Adelaide Worldwide as we speak.
One other opening spherical spotlight has five-time Australian Open finalist Andy Murray towards Italian Matteo Berrettini, a former Wimbledon finalist who’s the No.13-seeded participant.
Murray defeated Australian Alex de Minaur 6-3, 6-3 in an exhibition match yesterday and is happy along with his type.
“It’s all the time tough in exhibition matches to play like it’s the first spherical of a Grand Slam however I wished to attempt to go away every little thing out on the court docket to provide my physique one of the best preparation, to see how I used to be shifting, to see how I used to be serving, and it went properly,” Murray mentioned.
The potential males’s quarter-finals by seeding are: Nadal vs. No.7 Daniil Medvedev in what could be a rematch of final 12 months’s closing at Melbourne Park, gained by Nadal after dropping the preliminary two units, and No.3 Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. No.6 Felix Auger-Aliassime within the high half; and Djokovic vs. No.5 Andrey Rublev, and No.2 Casper Ruud vs. No.8 Taylor Fritz within the backside half.
Nadal has a number one 22 Grand Slam singles titles, yet one more than Djokovic.
Wimbledon finalist Nick Kyrgios, who faces Roman Safiullin within the opening spherical, will play Djokovic in an exhibition match tonight in Melbourne.
“I’m top-of-the-line gamers on this planet, so I’m positively going to enter the Australian Open and any Grand Slam with confidence,” Kyrgios mentioned.
Ons Jabeur, who reached each the Wimbledon and US Open finals in 2022, is seeded second and performs Tamara Zidansek within the girls’s draw.
No.3 Jessica Pegula, who led the US crew that claimed the combined groups United Cup in Sydney final week, faces Jacqueline Cristian from Romania within the first spherical.
Australia’s Billie Jean King Cup captain Alicia Molik, who attended the draw at Melbourne Park, mentioned Pegula is a contender.
“I really feel like she has the psychological fortitude and I actually really feel like she will be right here late within the stage of the Australian Open,” Molik mentioned.
Seventh-seeded Coco Gauff, who gained a event in Auckland final week, faces a tricky first spherical check towards Katerina Siniakova, who defeated her within the Billie Jean King Cup finals in November.
The potential girls’s quarter-finals are: Swiatek vs. Gauff in what could be a rematch of final 12 months’s French Open closing, gained by Swiatek, and Pegula vs. No.6 Maria Sakkari within the high half of the bracket; and Jabeur vs. No.5 Aryna Sabalenka, and No.4 Caroline Garcia vs. No.8 Daria Kasatkina within the backside half.
One other huge first spherical match is two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka towards Sofia Kenin, who gained the title at Melbourne Park in 2020.