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2023 Australian Open: The Contenders and Dark Horses
The first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open is underway in Melbourne and some of the best tennis players from around the globe have already tasted action. The tournament is one of the most prestigious tennis tournaments in the world and is held annually in Melbourne, Australia.
Much of the news leading up to this year’s edition has been dominated by notable absences of key players, but thankfully, this has done little to dampen excitement around the tournament.
World No. 1. Carlos Alcaraz has had to withdraw due to injury, so has one of the most exciting players in the game and one of the contenders to win the tournament – Nick Kyrgios.
The Women’s field has had its fair share of absentees too, two-time Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka is unavailable due to injury and recently announced that she is expecting a baby, which means she will not be in action till 2024 at the least.
Amongst the men in action, Novak Djokovic is the overwhelming favourite to win the tournament. The Serbian star has won the Australian Open eight times in the past and is seeking the chance to compete for his ninth Australian Open title after missing last year’s tournament. Djokovic is also a 21-time Grand Slam winner and is looking to tie Rafael Nadal for the record of 22 Grand Slam wins with a victory in Melbourne.
Rafael Nadal is one of the contenders but has been plagued by injuries and struggled in his opening match against Jack Draper. Nadal beat Daniil Medvedev in a blockbuster final last year and could meet Medvedev in the quarterfinal of this year’s tournament
While Nadal could go the way and extend his all-time record, the 37-year-old has been far from his vintage self, losing six of his last seven singles matches.
The 2023 Australian Open field is packed with exceptional talent with Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev and Casper Ruud all with a shout at upsetting either Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal. Medvedev lost in back-to-back Australian Open finals and will be itching to go one step better this year.
In the women’s draw, Iga Swiatek is the favourite to win the tournament. The 21-year-old player from Poland has been on a hot run of form and is currently ranked No. 1., coming off a 2022 U.S. Open and French Open win.
However, a victory for her at the Australian Open is far from a foregone conclusion. Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur is seeking Africa’s first-ever Grand Slam title, while Paula Badosa, Coco Gauff, Aryna Sabalenka, and Maria Sakkari make up a competitive women’s field.
The Australian Open is set to be an exciting tournament, with many of the world’s best players competing for the title. Djokovic and Swiatek are the favourites to win the tournament, but there are many other talented players who could challenge them for the title. With a star-studded line-up and high-quality tennis on display, the Australian Open is a must-watch event for tennis fans around the world.
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