With A Tough Test On Monday, Rafael Nadal starts his title defense against a dangerous young opponent. Women’s top seed Iga Swiatek also faces a tough challenge as she tries to win her first title.
The men’s world number one ranking will be on the line at Melbourne Park for the first Grand Slam of the year, and a new women’s champion will be crowned after Ashleigh Barty unexpectedly quit after winning last year.
The 36-year-old great of Spain, Nadal, will face Britain’s in-form Jack Draper in a difficult afternoon match at Rod Laver Arena. Nadal has lost six of his last seven matches, including his first two this year.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion and top seed described the match as “probably one of the toughest first-round (games) possible, being seeded.” Young, powerful, rising extremely quickly in rank.
Rafael Nadal is a hero
Even though Nadal is a hero to the 21-year-old rapidly improving Draper, he said he would not be overwhelmed when he reached the Adelaide International semifinals this week.
“Obviously, I want to go and play really well, compete hard, and win the match. “So that will be the strategy,” he declared.
Nadal won the title last year with a thrilling five-set victory over Daniil Medvedev of Russia. In an evening match, Nadal will play American Marcos Giron on the center court.
He won his first Australian title since 2009 in the absence of Novak Djokovic, the nine-time champion who is back this year and the heavy favorite after missing the 2022 event because he was deported for opposing the Covid vaccination.
The 35-year-old Serb will play Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena on Tuesday in an attempt not only to reclaim the top ranking in the world but also to win his 10th title and tie Rafael Nadal’s record of 22 Slams.
Djokovic, who won at Adelaide last week and finished 2022 with another victory at the ATP Finals, stated, “I like my chances.”
By winning the trophy, he can climb back to the top. The governing body, ATP, states that Norwegian Casper Ruud and Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas can also compete.
In the event that neither Djokovic nor Tsitsipas win the title, Ruud, who is currently ranked number three, can also become world number one by reaching the final.
Carlos Alcaraz, who will not be playing in Melbourne because of an injury, will continue to reign if none of those possibilities come true.
On Tuesday, Tsitsipas faces France’s Quentin Halys at Margaret Court Arena, with Ruud competing.
The intense opening match for Swiatek:
Swiatek, the top seed, is the clear favorite because she has dominated women’s tennis since Barty retired in March of last year.
The Pole won eight WTA titles in 2022 and became the first woman in six years to win both Roland Garros and New York Grand Slams in the same season.
It is almost certain that a new name will be on the Daphne Akhurst trophy because Serena Williams, a great who has retired, and Naomi Osaka, who has won Melbourne twice, are both absent.
Out-of-sorts Sofia Kenin, who won the Australian Open in 2020, and Victoria Azarenka, whose second victory came a decade ago, are the only previous winners in the draw.
The German world number 68 who reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon last year will serve as Swiatek’s opponent on Monday.
More recently, the two of them clashed in the last 16 of the US Open, and Swiatek won the tournament despite losing the first set.
She mentioned Neimeier and said, “It’s not going to be easy.”
However, compared to other tournaments, every Grand Slam match is always more intense and stressful. I’ll be prepared.”
Third-ranked American Jessica Pegula will also be excited about her chances.
The 28-year-old continued her blistering form at the end of the 2022 season, including winning a second singles title at the WTA 1000 in Guadalajara, by playing a key role for the USA team that won the United Cup.
She starts as Jacqueline Cristian of Romania.
Azarenka will play Kenin, sixth seed Maria Sakkari, and seventh seed Coco Gauff on Monday.