The 2023 Australian Open Has Welcomed the Next Generation of Stars
It’s an exciting time for tennis, to say the absolute least. Two GOATs of the game—Roger Federer and Serena Williams—have retired, and a host of young competitors under the age of 25 are ready to take their place. Challenging them will be defending champion Rafael Nadal, the unstoppable phenom Iga Swiatek, and the controversial return of former World No. 1 Novak Djokovic.
Though the Australian Open may not have as storied of a legacy as other major tournaments like Wimbledon or Roland Garros, it’s still one of the four Grand Slam events of the tennis season, along with the US Open. Winning the tournament can be career-making for its champion. So, who has the best chance this year?
If Djokovic can win his 22nd title, he’ll tie the current leader, Rafael Nadal, to further cement his status as one of the best to ever play tennis. Nadal was already eliminated in the second round by American Mackenzie McDonald after citing a hip injury, so Djokovic is already one step closer. 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz, who most recently won the 2022 US Open, announced his withdrawal due to a hamstring injury, but runner-up Casper Ruud is entering the tournament as the No. 2 seed. Yet to win a major, he’ll gun for his first title. So will hopefuls Frances Tiafoe, Matteo Berrettini, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Nick Kyrgios, and Taylor Fritz—all stars of the new Netflix documentary series, Break Point. Berrettini and Kyrgios were already out of the tournament within the first few days, but others such as Auger-Aliassime, Danill Medvedev, and Holger Rune play on.
In the women’s draw, World No. 1 Iga Swiatek will most likely continue to dominate the field. The 21-year-old won two of the four major tournament last year, including the 2022 US Open. Though Naomi Osaka will not attend the competition after announcing that she is pregnant with her first child, Swiatek will be up against US Open runner-up Ons Jabeur—as well as Madison Keys, Leylah Fernandez, Sloane Stephens, and Coco Gauff. On Tuesday night, Gauff advanced to the third round following an exciting match against the former teen Wimbledon champ, Emma Raducanu.
Running from January 16 to 29 in Melbourne, you can stream the Australian Open on ESPN and ESPN2. (ESPN+ subscribers can watch the tournament as well.) For most viewers outside of Australia, this competition is one of the hardest to watch. Unless you stay up all night and sleep when the sun comes out like Dracula, most of the biggest games take place at 3 a.m. EST. Fan-favorites such as Coco Gauff, Maria Sakkari, Iga Swiatek and Frances Tiafoe will continue the tournament with Round Three matches in the Rod Laver Arena this week. So mute all #AustralianOpen notifications on social media and get ready to stream games the next day, because you’re going to want to catch all the action.
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