Australian Open: Novak Djokovic, Iga Swiatek and Caroline Garcia are some of the names who could make a mark in Melbourne | tennis news

We pick six players who could make an impact at this year’s Australian Open in Melbourne with Novak Djokovic aiming to make it a historic 10th title in the men’s singles.

Other than the nine-time champion, there are a number of big-name players on the men’s and women’s side of the draw who will be looking to make a huge impact in Melbourne.

Novak Djokovic

Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates winning the final of the Adelaide International tennis tournament against USA's Sebastian Korda in Adelaide, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Kelly Barnes)
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Djokovic won in Adelaide ahead of the Australian Open

There only one place to start! Twelve months on from the extraordinary saga of his deportation, it feels like business as usual for Djokovic.

The nine-time champion is unsurprisingly hot favorite for yet another Australian Open title. He holds a remarkable 82-6 winning record at the event since 2007.

Whether there will be any hangover from his immigration travails will be a hot topic, but on the court the 35-year-old looks as strong as ever and is highly motivated to add more major silverware.

He showed no signs of the hamstring issue that has troubled him this month during an exhibition match against Nick Kyrgios on Friday, having enjoyed what he said was a fantastic response from fans after winning the Adelaide title.

Djokovic opens his bid for a 10th Australian Open title against Roberto Carballes Baena.

Iga Swiatek

January 11, 2023: World number one Iga Swiatek practicing on Rod Laver Arena ahead of the 2023 Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia.  Sydney Low/Cal Sport Media (Credit Image: ..Sydney Low/CSM via ZUMA Press Wire) (Cal Sport Media via AP Images)
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Swiatek will be aiming to add another Grand Slam to her name

After years of instability in the women’s game, Swiatek seized the No 1 mantle following Ashleigh Barty’s shock retirement and made it her own, dominating on clay and then winning a third Grand Slam title at the US Open.

She also racked up a 21st century record 37-match winning streak.

With Serena Williams having hung up their racket and Naomi Osaka pregnant with her first child, Melbourne Park will almost certainly usher in a new era by crowning a first-time champion.

The 21-year-old Pole is less of a sure thing on hard courts but showed her competitive mettle in New York and is a clear favourite.

Swiatek takes on Jule Niemeier from Germany, who is ranked No 68, in the opening round.

Rafael Nadal

Spain's Rafael Nadal reacts after losing a game to Australia's Alex de Minaur during their Group D match at the United Cup tennis event in Sydney, Australia, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Mark baker)
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Nadal will look to play himself into form as he aims to defend his title

Top seed in the absence of his compatriot Carlos Alcaraz, Nadal returns to the scene of arguably the most remarkable of his 22 Grand Slam victories.

Fearing a chronic foot problem might end his career, Nadal instead claimed his first title in Melbourne since 2009 by coming from two sets down to defeat Daniil Medvedev in last year’s final.

The 36-year-old goes into the tournament on the worst run of results of his career, but is a master at playing himself into form.

The top seed faces an early test of his fitness against British young gun Jack Draper.

Ons Jabeur

Ons Jabeur of Tunisia reacts after winning a point in the third set of her match against Jessica Pegula during round robin-play on day three of the WTA Finals tennis tournament in Fort Worth, Texas, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022. Jabeur won 1 -6, 6-3, 6-3.  (AP Photo/Tim Heitman)
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Can Jabeur reach her third Grand Slam final?

Nicknamed the “Minister of Happiness” the Stylish Tunisian Jabeur proved Swiatek’s closest challenger in 2022 – albeit not very close.

Blazing a trail for Arab and African women, Jabeur is peaking in her late 20s and will look to reach a third consecutive Grand Slam final.

An exuberant presence on and off the court, the 28-year-old is a big asset for the women’s game.

She is seeded second and while her reliance on dazzling racket skills rather than power might work against her on the famous blue courts, there would surely be few more popular winners.

She plays Slovenian world No 88 Tamara Zidansek in her first-round match.

Nick Kyrgios

Nick Kyrgios, of Australia, reacts as he plays Karen Khachanov, of Russia, during the quarterfinals of the US Open tennis championships, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022, in New York.  (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
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Kyrgios will be seeking to make a little bit of history at the Australian Open

With his run to the Wimbledon final, Kyrgios proved to the tennis world – and himself – that he can be more than an entertaining sideshow.

Now 27, the Australian has a taste for Grand Slam success and, after winning a first slam title in doubles in Melbourne last year, will hope to challenge for the singles crown.

As mercurial as they come, Kyrgios could bow out in the first round or win the championship. He will bid to become the first home men’s singles champion since Mark Edmondson in 1976.

Kyrgios takes on Russian world No 98 Roman Safiullin in his opening match.

Caroline Garcia

Caroline Garcia, of France, holds the trophy after defeating Aryna Sabalenka, of Belarus, in the singles final at the WTA Finals tennis tournament in Fort Worth, Texas, Monday, Nov. 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
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Garcia won the WTA Finals in Fort Worth, Texas for the biggest title of her career

What a 2022 it was for 29-year-old Frenchwoman Garcia, who has been enjoying a late-career renaissance.

She pulled herself out of the doldrums and climbed from 74 in the world rankings to four.

Garcia also broke new ground by reaching the semi-finals of the US Open and then ended the season by winning her biggest career title at the WTA Finals.

Garcia opens against qualifier Katherine Sebov of Canada – ranked 191 in the world – in the opening round.

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