Melbourne, Australia, Dec 8 (EFE).- The main draw for the Australian Open was published on Wednesday, showing Serbian Novak Djokovic as men’s headliner, and Japan’s Naomi Osaka in the women’s list of players for the first Grand Slam of the season.
Djokovic’s name appears after months of speculation over whether he would play Down Under. The tournament requires proof of vaccination against Covid-19, and Djokovic has repeatedly refused to publicly reveal his vaccination status.
Spain’s Rafael Nadal will start as sixth seed to play for the first time since August due to his chronic left foot injury.
The loss of the Switzerland’s Roger Federer, who could not recover from his knee injury in time, leaves Djokovic and Nadal the only two with a shot at a record 21 Grand Slam singles titles wins to become the most successful men’s tennis player in history.
The list of top 10 favorites to win the men’s open title is completed by Russia’s Daniil Medvedev (2), Germany’s Alexander Zverev (3), Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas (4), Russia’s Andrey Rublev (5), Italy’s Matteo Berrettini (7), Norway’s Casper Ruud (8), Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz (9) and Italy’s Jannik Sinner (10).
In the women’s competition, Australia’s Ashleigh Barty tops the draw of a field that includes Naomi Osaka (13), champion of the 2019 and 2021 tournaments.
The Japanese star will try to resume her top form after a difficult 2021 in which she withdrew from Wimbledon, and from Roland Garros after she was fined and threatened with expulsion over her decision not to speak to the press during the tournament in order to prioritize her mental health.
The others in the top 10 competing for the title are Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka (2), Spain’s Garbiñe Muguruza (3), the Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova (4) and Barbora Krejcikova (5), Greece’s Maria Sakkari (6), Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit (7), Spain’s Paula Badosa (8), Poland’s Iga Swiatek (9) and Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur (10).
The tournament will run over Jan. 17-30 at Melbourne Park. EFE