And hop, a nice gift for the reunion.
Expelled from the country last year before the start of the tournament for lack of an anti-Covid vaccine, Novak Djokovic, who is making his comeback at the Australian Open (January 16-29) as the number 4 seed, has was spared Thursday by the draw, more in any case than his main opponents and in particular Rafael Nadal yet seeded number 1.
Fate has put in his path the Serb, who will try to equal Nadal's record of grand slam titles (22), the Spaniard Roberto Carballes (75th) in the first round then, if we follow the logic of the classification, the Bolivian Hugo Dellien (132nd), Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov (29th), Spaniard Pablo Carreno (15th), Russian Andrey Rublev (6th) and Norwegian Casper Ruud (3rd), for a final in apotheosis against Nadal (2nd) , who became seeded number 1 after the withdrawal of his compatriot Carlos Alcaraz.
Djokovic's record against all of his first six potential opponents is 21 wins for 4 losses in total, only Carreno having beaten him twice... On the contrary, Nadal will have a lot to do when he enters the defense of his title : from the first round, he who has lost six of his last seven games will face one of the players in form at the moment, the Briton Jack Draper (40th).
Nadal will have to tear himself away
He will then find on his theoretical route the American Brandon Nakashima (47th), the Japanese Yoshihito Nishioka (33rd), the American Frances Tiafoe (17th) – who eliminated him from the last US Open in the round of 16 –, the Russian Daniil Medvedev (8th) for a rematch of the Australian 2022 final, and the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas (4th) in half, before the possible dream final against Djokovic.
For Nadal too, the record against the first six opponents is largely favorable (16 wins for 4 losses and only Tsitsipas has beaten him twice), but the pedigree of the opposition is more worrying.
Two clashes will also occur in the first round: the Briton Andy Murray (49th) will face the Italian slugger Matteo Berrettini (14th) and the Austrian puncher Dominic Thiem (99th), back in Melbourne after missing the 2022 edition through injury , will challenge Russian hitter Rublev.
Duel of winners in the ladies
In the women's draw, in the absence of defending champion Ashleigh Barty, who has retired, and after the withdrawal of pregnant Naomi Osaka at the last minute, there are only two players in the draw who have won the tournament: the Belarusian Victoria Azarenka (25th) and the American Sofia Kenin (280th)… And they will face each other in the first round.
Three players are announced as the main contenders: the undisputed Polish world number 1 Iga Swiatek, who wants a third Grand Slam title (after Roland-Garros 2020 and 2022 and the US Open 2022), the Tunisian Ons Jabeur (2nd ), who remains in two major finals (Wimbledon and US Open), and the French Caroline Garcia (4th), a player in great shape at the end of last season, winner of the WTA Masters and also in search of her first Grand Slam.
Of the three, it is Jabeur and Garcia who are in the same half of the table to possibly face each other in the semi-finals, before challenging Swiatek in the final.
But, for her part, the Pole will have a denser table, with three Americans on her way: in 8th, she could face the American Danielle Collins (14th), finalist last year, then Coco Gauff (7th), finalist of the last Roland-Garros, and finally Jessica Pegula (3rd) in half.
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Australian Open 2023