The long-awaited time has come and for the next 2 weeks tennis fans from around the world will turn their eyes towards sunny Australia. From the recent history of the men's tournament, we remember many legendary duels of tennis players from the Big Three. Roger, Rafa and Nole have traded Norman Brookes trophies since 2006. The exception was 2014 when Stanislaw Wawrinka won in 4 sets against the king of clay courts. How will it be this year? 2 of the 3 great champions enter the tournament, but due to injury the best representative of the young generation - Carlos Alcaraz, who won his first Grand Slam championship last year, will be absent. Let's take a look at the tournament schedule and think about which players we can watch in the second week of the tournament.
On the first day of the tournament, 64 players representing the top half of the tournament brackets will enter the courts. Below is the way to the quarter-finals for these players.
Last year's champion and No. 1 seed is at the top of the tournament bracket. Although the Spaniard is not the biggest favorite of the whole tournament, but any loss on the way to the top 8 of the tournament would be a surprise. However, we should not forget about Frances Tiafoe, who during the US Open won against Rafael Nadal, then losing in 5 sets to Carlos Alcaraz. The American seems to be in good shape at the beginning of the season and certainly should not be afraid of the first clash, as well as potential two next rivals including Karen Khachanov. In the list above, we see two Grand Slam rookies. The first of them is the representative of the Czech Republic Dalibor Svrčina, whose development is very stable and systematic. He is the 2019 junior AO doubles champion. This year's AO qualifying tournament is his fourth attempt to qualify for a Grand Slam tournament. So far, he has stopped 2 times at the 2nd round of qualifying. A bigger sensation is the presence of 17-year-old Chinese Shang Juncheng in the main tournament. An interesting fact is that he got a chance to debut in the ATP Tour after receiving a wildcard for Rio Open 2022 tournament because of the withdrawal of Juan Martín del Potro who announced his retirement from professional tennis.
The highest seeded player in Section 2 is Daniil Medvedev. The former No. 1 ATP ranked enters the tournament as the No. 7 seed this time . After a fantastic 2021, last season was a bit worse, but he is still a world-class player, so he will be one of the favourites of the tournament on his favourite surface. One of his potential rivals may be the Pole Hubert Hurkacz, who, despite stabilizing his position around 10 in the ATP ranking, very often disappoints in grand slams and is eliminated in one of the first rounds with lower-ranked players. Fans in Poland hope that Hubert will be different this time, but certainly a possible duel with Denis Shapovalov can end with any result. The second Asian Grand Slam debutant will be a Japanese Yosuke Watanuki. The Japanese won Challenger tournaments 3 times. Everything took place in his country, including two titles in November last year.
Stefanos Tsitsipas reached the semifinals of the AO in 2019, 2021 and 2022. It shows how good he feels on the Australian courts and there is no doubt that his dream is to play in the grand final. The Greek's plans will be thwarted by Italians: Lorenzo Musetti and Jannik Sinner. Especially the second is the great hope of fans from the country of pizza. However, after injury problems last season, the start of last year's campaign will be an unknown for the Italian.
The most successful player in Section 4 is of course, Stan Wawrinka. The three-time Grand Slam champion won his first Grand Slam title in Australia in 2014. However, the latest times for the Swiss are not so excellent, and he will play in the tournament thanks to the Protected Ranking. In a possible second round match with Félix Auger-Aliassime, of course, the favorite will be the Canadian. Let's not forget about Cameron Norrie, who ended the tournament in Adelaide yesterday, losing only the final match to Richard Gasquet. The Briton will face 18-year-old Frenchman Luca Van Assche in the first round. For the former junior French Open champion, this will be the first match of the main bracket of the senior tournament. Interestingly, the winner of this match in the second round will play with Thiago Monteiro or another French debutant. This time it was 30-year-old Constant Lestienne, who was very patient in waiting for his late Grand Slam debut.