Australian Open 2023 – All You Need To Know

Australia Open trophies (photo: Fiona Hamilton/Tennis Australia)

STARNBERG, October 24, 2022 (by Chris Renson)

We’re just a couple of months away from the start of a new tennis season, and just like every other season, the majors start in January with the Australian Open. The tournament is scheduled to start on January 16th and will finish on January 29th. Just like always, the hard court championship will take place in Melbourne Park, and we can’t wait to see what’s going to happen.

The defending champion in the men’s section is Rafael Nadal, securing his 21st major title last year. He’s since gone on to claim number twenty-two in the French Open, making him the outright leader in men’s major titles. The man behind him, Novak Djokovic, loves coming to Australia, as he’s won nine of his twenty-one major titles down under. However, Djokovic was unable to play in the 2022 Australian Open after being deported from the country due to visa issues.

The underlying issue was that Djokovic refused to get vaccinated against Covid-19, something that was a legal requirement for anyone entering Australia at the time. By next year’s tournament, the rules will have been relaxed around Covid vaccination, meaning that Djokovic would be able to play – if it weren’t for a three-year ban he received for trying to enter the country illegally.

He has appealed the decision and is currently waiting for a response from the Federal government. Whether or not Djokovic plays will have a big impact on the overall outcome of the tournament, as he would likely be a favourite if he were allowed to play. Currently, the betting lines show that Medvedev and Alcaraz are the two favourites, although it may be worth taking a gamble on Nadal going back to back, as he’s shown he can still keep up with the best of them on the hard courts. Gambling on tennis is extremely popular, as studies show it’s the second most popular sports betting activity worldwide. It’s even reached a point where popular online casino games are tennis-themed in an attempt to get more people to play! If you are considering making a bet on the tournament, it may be worth waiting for the decision on Djokovic’s entry to be confirmed.

In the women’s tournament, there is no defending champion this year, as the 2022 winner Ashleigh Barty retired at the end of March, becoming only the second player to retire whilst being ranked number one in the world. After a few near misses the years before, bowing out after winning her home tournament and the third grand slam of her career seems like a fitting end for the Australian.

With Ashleigh not participating in this year’s tournament, the firm favourite is Iga Swiatek from Poland. The current women’s number one is coming off the back of a stellar year, where she won two Grand Slam titles (the French Open and the US Open) and made it to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. If she can put in a similar performance this year, there doesn’t look to be anyone that would be capable of stopping her.

Ashleigh wasn’t the only Australian to take home a trophy in last year’s event, as the Men’s Doubles was won by home pairing Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis, beating fellow Australians Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell. After such a strong showing, the home fans will be hoping for a repeat performance from at least one of the pairings in 2023.

There are plenty of storylines to look forward to at this year’s Australian Open, but arguably the biggest one will happen before the event even starts! Do you think Djokovic should be let back into the country, and if he does, will he go on to win the event? Only time will tell, but you can guarantee there will be controversy, whatever the decision.