The 2022 Australian Open gets underway at Melbourne Park on January 17 after one of the most controversial Grand Slam build-ups in history. Novak Djokovic is gunning for a record-extending 10th triumph and a fourth on the bounce, if he’s allowed to play that is, but there is tough competition in the men’s and women’s fields.
Djokovic is joined by Rafael Nadal, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev as the top contenders in the men’s competition.
Nadal is an outside favourite, having won the Australian Open just once in 2009, and he is only just returning from injury.
Medvedev tasted defeat against Djokovic in last year’s final but earned vengeance by toppling the Serb in the US Open. He ended 2021 by guiding Russia to Davis Cup glory without dropping a single set.
After reaching his first major final at the French Open last year, Tsitsipas will be hungry to build on his semi-final exit in Melbourne 12 months ago.
Whilst Zverev will also be looking to start the year positively after winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics and triumphing in the ATP Finals last year.
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On the women’s side of things, can Emma Raducanu repeat her US Open heroics and start her first full season on the WTA Tour with a bang?
It’ll be a tough ask, with many of the big hitters looking in terrific shape in the build-up. The likes of Naomi Osaka will be a threat.
The Japanese star became one of only three players in the Open Era to win their first four Grand Slam finals when she lifted last year’s Australian Open title, and she’ll be eyeing a third success this time around.
WTA Finals champion Garbine Muguruza will hope to record another strong showing in Melbourne, whilst Simona Halep will be keen to bounce back after a disappointing 2021.
But the world number one Ashleigh Barty is the one to watch, as she’ll be desperate to lift a major title on home turf.
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Five-time Australian Open finalist Andy Murray will be competing for the first time since 2019, but he is unseeded after getting a wild card and could face a daunting draw.
Raducanu is making her debut and will be one of the top 20 seeds in the women’s draw.
But the 19-year-old hasn’t had ideal preparation, winning just one game in her thumping warm-up match defeat against Elena Rybakina.
Other British hopefuls Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans will both be seeded in the men’s draw.
Have your say on how the 2022 Australian Open will unfold below in Express Sport’s latest tennis poll.