There’s a load of tennis action coming your way real soon as the 2023 Australian Open starts on Monday.
As the first major Grand Slam of the year, it’s the perfect stage for players to set the tone for the rest of the year. Throughout the tournament, we’ll be seeing veterans striving to beat more records, newbies itching to make an impression, and many other players just trying to make it past each round.
Whoever you’re rooting for this year, these are the players you need to keep an eye out for in the 2023 Australian Open.
Who are the top players in the men’s tournament?
In the men’s tournament, the defending champion Rafael Nadal is a favorite to win.
He is the top-seeded player coming into the tournament. Plus, he is expected to add another to his 22 Grand Slam titles. However, he will have to work hard, right from the first round of the Open. His first match will be against British 21-year-old Jack Draper, who has been impressive in his recent competitions, including the Gen ATP Finals.
In addition, Nadal is also in the same quarter of the draw as Novak Djokovic. The Serbian is back in Australia as another favorite to take the title.
Last year put a break on Djokovic’s race to 22 Grand Slam titles, as he was unable to compete in the 2022 Australian Open due to his vaccination status. However, this year, he returns ready and hungry.
Djokovic rules the Australian Open court. He currently holds the most titles in the tournament with nine to his name. Now that he is back, he will be looking to add one more to his record.
Who are the top players in the women’s tournament?
On the women’s side, Iga Swiatek returns to Melbourne park as the World No. 1 and many see her as the player to beat.
The Polish tennis player dominated the women’s tennis scene last year, winning eight WTA titles and becoming the first woman in six years to win two Grand Slams in one season after she won the French and US Open.
Given that her best Australian Open result is reaching the semifinals, she has a good chance to change that this year.
The second seed in the women’s tournament is Ons Jabeur.
Last year, the 28-year-old was unable to play due to an injury. However, upon coming back from her recovery, she was able to make it to the finals of Wimbledon and the US Open in 2022.
This year is a chance for her to clinch her first-ever Grand Slam title.
Who else should we watch out for?
Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios knows he is one of the best players in the world. However, he hasn’t had the easiest time proving it.
The 27-year-old has been competing as a professional since 2013, and he has made a name for himself at many Grand Slams in the past, but he has yet to win a Singles Grand Slam title.
In 2022, he made it to the Wimbledon finals. But, unlike his opponent, Novak Djokovic, Kyrgios lacked experience on this stage, and ultimately finished as the runner-up. At his home tournament, and with the upward trajectory of his career, could this be the year he finally gets his breakthrough?
Coco Gauff is another player whose career is on an upward rise. She is coming in as the seventh seed in the tournament.
The 18-year-old American reached her first Grand Slam final in the 2022 French Open, where she fell to World No. 1 Iga Swiatek. In addition to this, she also made the quarterfinal of her home tournament, the US Open.
Following this momentum, and as she continues to gain experience as a promising youngster, this year, she may have a crack into a major title soon as well.
Who’s the new kid on the block?
Finally, tennis fans should keep an eye out for Chinese youngster Shang Juncheng.
At 17 years old, Juncheng made a stellar impression in the 2023 Australian Open qualifiers after he broke the World No. 171 thrice to take a 77-minute victory that granted him a ticket to the main draw. Currently sitting at World No. 194, this was his first bid for qualification into the tournament.
Coming from the qualification rounds, he will have his work cut out for him in the main draw of the tournament, especially as he faces World No. 74, Oscar Otte, in the first round.
With all the amazing talents in the 2023 Australian Open, this is already shaping up to be an exciting tournament.
Who are you rooting for?