Emma Raducanu faces a tough first match at the Australian Open
Credit: GETTY IMAGES
The world’s best tennis players are in Australia for the opening grand slam of 2022 – the Australian Open.
The draw was delayed briefly on Thursday amid growing confusion over the participation of Novak Djokovic, the world No 1.
Djokovic was drawn against Miomir Kecmanovic and is scheduled to play on Monday, despite the prospect that he could be deported.
From a British perspective, all eyes will be on Emma Raducanu who will play in her first grand slam since winning the US Open last September. However, the 19-year-old faces a tough opening match against Sloane Stephens, the world No 68, and could face No 14 seed Simona Halep in the third round.
The British No 1 will be under pressure to replicate her New York exploits in Melbourne but patience will be required as she works with a new coach, Torben Beltz.
In the men’s draw, Andy Murray was drawn against Nikoloz Basilashvili, whom he defeated in a thriller at the Sydney Tennis Classic on Wednesday. Cameron Norrie, the British No 1, faces Sebastian Korda, while Dan Evans will meet David Goffin.
Former British No 1 Tim Henman has insisted no one can fully judge Emma Raducanu’s potential until the French Open in 2023, and called for patience, Molly McElwee reports.
Raducanu, 19, started 2022 with the biggest loss of her career so far on Tuesday, succumbing to Elena Rybakina 6-0, 6-1 in the first round of the Sydney Tennis Classic.
Since her huge US Open win last September she has won just two matches and lost four, but Henman – who acted as a mentor to Raducanu in New York – believes snap judgments on such results will do her no good.
“The reality is she’s so new to all of this, and it is a steep learning curve," he said, speaking to Eurosport. “I get asked all the time how good she’s going to be and she is a fantastic player, an enormous talent, a great athlete who’s got an amazing mindset, but I always think that the time to judge these young players is when they played every tournament twice.
“And you think in the context of Emma, she’s never played the French Open. So she will have played the French Open for a second time in 2023. That’s the time frame of really understanding how good she can and will be. I reflect on some of the other players like when you look at Coco Gauff or Jannik Sinner, it takes time… Emma’s played seven or eight tournaments in her professional career, she just needs a little bit of time. She’s slightly doing it back to front. She’s played in two Slams, and she won one of them. It’s crazy how quickly it’s all happened. There’ll be lots of people who will be impatient and expecting things to turn and change overnight, but I’m not one of them.”
This is Raducanu’s first full season on the WTA Tour, and she will play in her first Australian Open beginning on Monday with new coach, German Torben Beltz, in her corner.
She pulled out of a tournament in Melbourne last week, saying she needed more recovery time, after contracting Covid-19 late last year forced her to spend three weeks off the court.
“When she came out [of quarantine] she wasn’t really able to get started with training,” Henman said. “Then she flies to Australia, the jet lag, and the practice and she’s just trying to build from that. I think it’s important that everyone manages expectation, it’s a long year, she’s got a lot of great opportunities, and form’s temporary, class is permanent."
When is the Australian Open?
The tournament gets underway on January 17 and concludes with the men’s final on January 30.
Where is the Australian Open?
The Australian Open takes place at Melbourne Park in Victoria.
Who are the top 32 seeds?
Australian Open 2022 seeds
Who is missing at the Australian Open?
Two of the sport’s biggest names – Roger Federer and Serena Williams – will not be in Melbourne as they continue to recover from injuries that disrupted their 2021 seasons. 2014 winner and Federer’s Swiss compatriot Stan Wawrinka is also out.
2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu is also missing as she takes a break from the tour while former British No 1 Jo Konta announced her retirement from tennis in November.
Dominic Thiem has withdrawn as he continues his recovery from a wrist injury.
Australian Open match dates
- January 17 – Men’s and women’s singles first round
- January 18 – Men’s and women’s singles first round
- January 19 – Men’s and women’s singles second round
- January 20 – Men’s and women’s singles second round
- January 21 – Men’s and women’s singles third round
- January 22 – Men’s and women’s singles third round
- January 23 – Men’s and women’s singles fourth round
- January 24 – Men’s and women’s singles fourth round
- January 25 – Men’s and women’s singles quarter-finals
- January 26 – Men’s and women’s singles quarter-finals
- January 27 – Women’s semi-finals
- January 28 – Men’s semi-finals
- January 29 – Women’s final
- January 20 – Men’s final
How to watch the Australian Open 2022 on TV
Eurosport has the broadcasting rights to live action from Melbourne. Barbara Schett and Mischa Zverev will cover the action on-site. Alize Lim will be based in London where she will be joined by seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander, three-time Grand Slam semi-finalist Johanna Konta (week one) and former world number four Tim Henman (week two).
Multiple Grand Slam winners Chris Evert and John McEnroe will also be on hand to bring their expert views. Viewers will also see the likes of Boris Becker, Justine Henin, Alex Corretja and Roberta Vinci during the two weeks.
250 hours of live coverage will be broadcast with Eurosport 1 and Eurosport 2 dedicated to showing the very best matches on Rod Laver Arena. All courts and all matches will be accessible via discovery+, the Eurosport App and Eurosport.com.
Coverage begins at midnight on January 17 for the opening session of the tournament.