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It’s Australian Open Time. Here’s a preview

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Get your head in the game with our three minute preview of this year's Australian Open, kicking off this week in Melbourne.
It's Australian Open Time. Here's a preview

The first round of the Australian Open starts in Melbourne on Monday. The tournament runs until 29 January.

Here’s everything you need to know about who’s playing, who’s not, and who’s favoured to win.

The key dates

The women’s and men’s singles both kick off on Monday and reach the Quarter Finals (the top eight) on 24 January. The women’s final will be on the 28th and the men’s final on the 29th.

The doubles competitions start this Wednesday. The wheelchair competitions begin on the 24th.

Who wins the women’s?

The strong favourite is Iga Świątek, who enters the competition as the highest-ranked player and picked up two Grand Slam titles last year at the French Open and the U.S. Open.

Other contenders include Aryna Sabalenka, Ons Jabeur and Coco Gauff.

Who wins the news?

The big headline: Novak’s back. Nine-time champion Novak Djokovic is the favourite to win after he was barred from participating in last year’s tournament due to his COVID vaccine status.

His rivals include last year’s winner Rafael Nadal and last year’s runner-up Daniil Medvedev.

Notable Australians

Nick Kyrgios and Alex de Minaur are among the field of contenders in the men’s, ranked 19th and 22nd respectively. They’re joined by 9 other Australian men, including Thanasi Kokkinakis, Alexei Popyrin and John Millman. It’s still unclear whether Kyrgios and Kokkinakis will reunite in the doubles to defend their title.

In the women’s, Ajla Tomljanović was the biggest contender until pulling out with a knee injury. Qualifiers include Olivia Gadecki, Talia Gibson, Storm Hunter, Kimberly Birrell and Jaimee Fourlis.

Who’s missing?

Several of the biggest names in tennis will not be appearing in the tournament. Australian favourites Ash Barty and Dylan Alcott have retired, as has tennis legend Roger Federer. Serena Williams has stepped away from tennis for now.

Two-time winner Naomi Osaka is pregnant and will miss the entire 2023 season. Former women’s number one Simona Halep is absent due to a ban over a positive test for a prohibited substance. 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz, a breakout sensation who is currently world number one, is missing from the men’s draw due to injury.

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