The first grand slam of the new year kicks
off in the blue courts of Melbourne Park as the Australian Open returns to start
the 2023 tennis season. This year’s tournament promises to be a scintillating
spectacle with plenty of young guns looking to fight for glory while the old
guard Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal look to extend their legacy and continue
to defy father time under the brightest lights.
Here is our Australian Open 2023 Preview.
Can anyone stop
the high-flying Novak Djokovic?
Novak Djokovic has been nigh-on impossible
to stop since he returned to action in October 2022. The Serbian has lost only
once in his last 25 matches, falling to Holger Rune at the Paris Masters, and
has picked up titles in Tel Aviv, Astana, Adelaide and the ATP Tour Finals in
Turin along the way. Djokovic also returns to the Australian Open for the first
time in two years, with the 21-time grand slam champion banned from
participating in 2022 after being deported from the country due to his
The world number five will be looking to
make up for that lost time in Melbourne in 2023 and is the clear favourite to
go all the way at the Rod Laver arena, considering his previous success Down
Under. Djokovic has dominated the hard courts of the Australian Open, winning
the Grand Slam on nine occasions, including each of his last three appearances
at the event.
In 2023, Djokovic enters the draw as the
fifth seed but has a fairly straightforward route to the quarter-finals. The
Serbian’s first major obstacle could come in the last eight, where he might
face off against Russian star Andrey Rublev.
Can Rafa defend
Rafael Nadal heads to the Australian Open
as the defending champion for the first time since 2010. The Spaniard beat
Daniil Medvedev to win his second major title in Melbourne in 2022 and will
look to repeat his heroics this year at the age of 36. Nadal is also the top
seed at this year’s Australian Open, but that hasn’t guaranteed him a
straightforward route to the final.
The Spaniard will face the talented
21-year-old Jack Draper in his first-round matchup and could also play Francis
Tiafoe in the fourth round, who was the only player to beat Nadal at a grand
slam in 2022. A 2022 Australian Open final rematch against Daniil Medvedev is
also on the cards for Nadal at the quarter-final stage, and considering his
recent form and injury record, another miracle in Melbourne could be a long
shot for the Spaniard in 2023.
contenders for the title
The world number one and reigning US Open
champion Carlos Alcaraz will not play at the 2023 Australian Open due to
injury, and hometown favourite Nick Kyrgios also, unfortunately, pulled out on
the eve of the tournament. However, there are plenty of other contenders vying
for the title at Melbourne.
Daniil Medvedev has reached the last two
finals at the Rod Laver arena – albeit without winning either – and has
established himself as one of the best hardcourt players in the world. Casper
Ruud has also quietly gone under the radar as the second seed in the tournament
and could spring a surprise or two, while Felix Auger-Aliassime and Stefanos
Tsitsipas have sparked at the Rod Laver arena in the years gone by.