Defending Champion Rafael Nadal will face younger Englishman Jack Draper within the first spherical of the Australian Open in a bid to retain his 2022 crown and lengthen his Grand Slam tally.
Thursday’s draw was not sort to the 22-time main winner – if he defeats world No.40 Draper, he probably faces reigning Subsequent Gen ATP Finals champion Brandon Nakashima.
Ready for the Spaniard later could be a quarter-final in opposition to Daniil Medvedev, who was Nadal’s opponent in final yr’s epic five-set ultimate. Medvedev will likely be trying to make a 3rd straight ultimate after shedding to Djokovic in 2021 and Nadal in 2022.
A rematch of the 2021 ultimate is deliberate, with Djokovic within the reverse half of Nadal and Medvedev. The nine-time Australian Open champion faces one other Spaniard, Roberto Carballes Baena, on the opening day and is on his option to face native favourite Nick Kyrgios within the spherical of 16.
The event comes 12 months after Djokovic was deported from Australia on the eve of the 2022 version after former immigration minister Alex Hawke discovered the tennis star posed a threat to well being and public order as a result of, as a well-known athlete who beforehand had expressed his opposition to the truth that if pressured to obtain the vaccine in opposition to Covid-19, he might be seen as an “icon” for anti-vaccines.
The minister’s resolution to deport the previous world No.1 meant he was initially banned from re-entry for 3 years.
Nineteenth-seeded Kyrgios is a part of an thrilling part of the draw that features Holger Rune, Dan Evans and Andrey Rublev.
Russia’s Rublev enters the Australian Open because the fifth seed however suffered a shock loss to world No. 110 Thanasi Kokkinakis at Adelaide 2 on Wednesday. Rublev faces a blockbuster match in opposition to the previous world No. 3 and Open finalist of Australia 2020, Dominic, Thiem.
Andy Murray options within the different collection of the spherical as he takes on thirteenth seed Matteo Berrettini. The Italian beat the three-time Grand Slam winner in 4 units on the 2022 US Open and has overwhelmed the Scot in three of their 4 ATP conferences.
After reigning champion Ashleigh Barty retired from tennis final yr, Iga Światek has dominated the game and comes into the event as the highest seed. The Pole opens in opposition to Germany’s Jule Niemeier however faces a scrumptious quarter-final conflict with American prospect Coco Gauff.
The 18-year-old celebrity comes into the event in tremendous type, having gained the ASB Basic with out dropping a set, and is trying to construct on her glorious 2022 which noticed her attain the Roland Garros ultimate the place she was defeated by Światek.
Earlier than any quarter-final conflict with the favorite, nonetheless, Gauff faces a second-round match in opposition to 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu, who’s in a race in opposition to time to get better from an ankle damage.
Within the different half of the draw, second seed Ons Jabeur begins 2023 trying to go one higher than final yr and win a grand slam. The Tunisian reached the finals of Wimbledon and the US Open however fell on the ultimate hurdle in her quest to grow to be the primary Arab and North African lady to win a Grand Slam.
After lacking out on the 2022 Open, Jabeur opens her 2023 marketing campaign in opposition to Tamara Zidanšek and will face Aryna Sabalenka, who’s contemporary off profitable her eleventh profession title and first in 19 months at Adelaide 1.
Elsewhere, American Jessica Pegula was drawn in the identical a part of the draw as Maria Sakkari. Pegula just lately led Staff USA to victory within the inaugural United Cup, which featured an excellent straight units win over Światek. Having reached back-to-back quarter-finals in Melbourne and on the high of his recreation, he will likely be trying to arrange an exciting semi-final with Cup rivals United.