The Australian Open is upon us and promises to bring its joys, deceptions, and surprises over the next fortnight.
Nadal and Wozniacki to head the first day of action
The first day of action at the Australian Open will mark the début of the top half on the men’s side, and the bottom half for the ladies.
It will also be the first official match of the season for world number one Rafael Nadal, who has not played since withdrawing from the Nitto ATP Finals due to a knee injury.
“[I feel] good”, said the Spaniard. “It is the first time that I am here without playing an official match in my career. It is a new situation for me. But I feel good. I feel that I had a good week and a half of practices. I really hope to be ready. I feel myself more or less playing well.”
The top seed will face Victor Estrella Burgos to kick off the night session on Rod Laver Arena, at 19:00 local time (3:00 ET Monday morning).
At the same time, Caroline Wozniacki will début against the surprising Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu. After turning the tables on a difficult year, culminating with an impressive comeback to form and the biggest title of the career, in Singapore, the Dane is ready to take the court and fight to get back to number one.
“I think it is something that would always be special and really awesome”, she declared regarding being back at the top. “At the same time, you know, I’m just doing what I can do. I’m just playing here right now. That’s what I’m focusing on. Everything else will kind of fall into place. If I do it, that would be amazing. If I don’t, it’s still great. I’ve been there before, so it’s not like it’s something I haven’t done. It’s a little different, I suppose, this time around.”
Other matches to follow on Day 1 at the Australian Open
Many good matches will be played on the first day of the Australian Open.
On the men’s side, the match of the day will be, without a doubt, the NextGen clash between Denis Shapovalov and Stefanos Tsitsipas. At respectively 18 and 19, they are among the most talented young players of the ATP World Tour. Furthermore, they are both immensely spectacular, with their aggressive style of play and superb one-handed backhands. This match will be third on Show Court 2 and will start at approximately 15:00 local time (23:00 ET Sunday evening).
On the ladies’ side, the match to follow will be that between Venus Williams (5) and Belinda Bencic. A dangerous, in-form floater if there is one, the Swiss, who recently came back following a long injury lay-off, has the game to trouble last year’s Australian Open runner-up. This encounter will be second on Rod Laver Arena and will start at approximately 13:00 local time (21:00 ET Sunday evening).
Other featured matches
Here are the other matches to follow on Day 1:
-  Jelena Ostapenko vs Francesca Schiavone (11:00 local – 19:00 ET Sunday)
-  Kevin Anderson vs Kyle Edmund (11:00 local – 19:00 ET Sunday)
-  Pablo Cuevas vs Mikhail Youzhny (11:00 local – 19:00 ET Sunday)
-  Dominika Cubulkova vs Kaia Kanepi (13:00 local – 21:00 ET Sunday)
-  Andrey Rublev vs David Ferrer (13:00 local – 21:00 ET Sunday)
-  Kiki Bertens vs Catherine Bellis (13:00 local – 21:00 ET Sunday)
-  Diego Schwartzman vs Dusan Lajovic (13:30 local – 21:30 ET Sunday)
-  Grigor Dimitrov vs Dennis Novak (15:00 local – 23:00 ET Sunday)
-  Marin Cilic vs Vasek Pospisil (15:00 local – 23:00 ET Sunday)
- Borna Coric vs John Millman (15:30 local – 23:30 ET Sunday)
-  Elina Svitolina vs Ivana Jorovic (18:00 local – 2:00 ET Monday)
-  Nick Kyrgios vs Rogerio Dutra Silva (18:45 local – 2:45 ET Monday)