The first Grand Slam of 2023 is nearly here as the Australian Open draws closer and it is set to be another explosive event with the return of Novak Djokovic to the courts of Melbourne hotly anticipated.
Last year’s tournament saw Rafael Nadal win his 21st Grand Slam of his career while Djokovic was forced to watch from the sidelines as his vaccination status meant he was not eligible to play. The Serbian will however make his return to the Melbourne tournament while the country misses seeing the opportunity to watch Ashleigh Barty defend her title after the 2022 champion retired from tennis shortly after her home slam win.
While Djokovic will be a hot favourite to take the 2023 title, current world number one Carlos Alcaraz will have his eye on a second Slam prize after he stunned the world to beat Casper Ruud in the US Open final in September last year.
As the world’s best tennis stars prepare for the first Grand Slam of the year, here is all you need to know...
When is the Australian Open 2023?
The Australian Open kicks off on Monday 16 January and will conclude with the men’s final on Sunday 29 January. The draw for the tournament is expected to take place on Thursday 12 January following the conclusion of the qualifying rounds. Here is the schedule:
- Monday 9 January: Qualifying starts
- Monday 16- Tuesday 17 January: Men and women’s first-round matches
- Wednesday 18 - Thursday 19 January: Men and women’s second-round matches
- Friday 20 - Saturday 21 January: Men and women’s third-round matches
- Sunday 22 - Monday 23 January: Men and women’s fourth-round matches
- Tuesday 24 - Wednesday 25 January: Men and women’s quarter-finals
- Thursday 26 January: Women’s singles semi-finals
- Friday 27 January: Men’s singles semi-finals
- Saturday 28 January: Women’s singles final, men’s doubles final
- Sunday 29 January: Men’s singles final, women’s doubles final
How to watch the Australian Open
Warner Bros has now secured the rights for the Australian Open along with Discovery+ and Eurosport. Former tennis stars John McEnroe, Mats Wilander and junior Wimbledon winner Laura Robson are all set to commentate on the action which can be accessed both live and on-demand through discovery+. Fans can subscribe for an entertainment and sports subscription from £6.99/month or £59.99/year through the Discovery website.
Who will be playing in men’s tournament?
Russians and Belarussians will be permitted to play in this year’s tournament but will do so under a neutral flag, meaning world number seven Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev will feature. He will be joined by 21 Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic whose ban from the country until 2025 was overturned.
The men’s tournament will also see Carlos Alcaraz, Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas return to action, however it is currently unknown whether 2022 champion Rafael Nadal will be able to play. Nadal lost his first two matches of 2023 but his doctor believes he is making progress from the injuries with which he was plagued in the latter half of 2022 and is no longer physically hindered.
Britain’s Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans are also featured in the tournament draw along with Italian stars Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner. Nick Kyrgios also appears on the list, however, concerns have been raised about his fitness as he disappointed home crowds by pulling out of the recent Adelaide Open.
Who will feature in women’s tournament?
2019 and 2021 Australian Open winner Naomi Osaka will return to Melbourne. She played only 25 matches in 2022, winning only 14 of them, entering just 11 tournaments. The Japanese star will be joined by Venus Williams who is back for her 22nd Australian Open.
Britain’s Emma Raducanu is set to feature at the tournament for a second time after crashing out in the second round last year. She has been plagued by injury in recent months but is currently scheduled to play and will play Viktoria Kuzmova in the last 16 of the ASB Classic this week. Top seeds for the women’s tournament are set to be Iga Swiatek, Ons Jabeur, Jessica Pegula, Caroline Garcia and Russia’s Aryna Sabalenka. American superstar Coco Gauff is also listed on the draw for the open.
The prize money currently totals at £42.74m which is up 3.4% from 2022. The singles champions will each take home £1.67m and the tournament director, Craig Tiley, has said: “We’ve upped prize money for every round from qualifying through to the finals, with the major increases in the early rounds, where these substantial rewards help players invest in their own careers and in many cases, set themselves up for success throughout the year.”