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Nadal and Djokovic look to add to their legend at the Australian Open and contain a brood of hungry youngsters


The Spaniard not only defends the title, but also the possibility of the Serb reaching it as the top winner of Grand Slams. But despite Alcaraz's loss, they are not alone at Melbourne Park.

Rafael Nadal

, the man with the most Grand Slams in history, and

Novak Djokovic

, a nine-time champion in Melbourne, seek to enlarge their legend at the

Australian Open

, although to stay at the top of world tennis they will have to contain the incipient revolution of tennis. young talents on the circuit.

Although the prince of this new crop of talents, the number one in the Spanish world

Carlos Alcaraz

, will be out due to injury, there are many aspirants to end the tyranny of the Big Three: Nadal, Djokovic and the now retired

Roger Federer


It may be the time for the Norwegian

Casper Ruud , world number 2 and finalist at Roland Garros and New York, but the Danish

Holger Rune

, the Canadian

Felix Auger-Aliassime

or the Italian

Jack Sinner

are also lurking


Holger Rune, the new guy who goes all out.

Photo: REUTERS/Hannah McKay

But since 2006, only the Swiss

Stan Wawrinka

in 2014 was able to question the dominance of Federer, Nadal and especially Djokovic in Australia, who returns to his favorite tournament after the

dramatic deportation

in 2022 for not being vaccinated against Covid.

"If we talk about favourites, on the Saturday before the tournament begins, without any doubt, Djokovic is the top favorite to win the title. But tournaments are not won on the Saturday before

," said Nadal himself.

The 36-year-old man from Manacor not only defends the title he won epically the previous year, but also the record of 22 Grand Slams, which Djokovic would equal if he achieved victory in Australia.

Rafa Nadal in training prior to his participation in the Australian Open.

Photo: EFE/ Lukas Coch


the Spaniard admitted to feeling "vulnerable"

, having gone on a losing streak of just one win in the last seven matches.

"I've been losing more than usual. I need to rebuild my momentum, I need to rebuild this confidence with me through victories," he


In addition, in the first round he had one of the most difficult crosses for the seeded teams, the young and powerful British

Jack Draper


"If I am able to win the first game, I will have my options

," predicted Nadal, who would not meet Djokovic until a hypothetical final.

To top it off, the

35-year-old Serbian arrives in Melbourne full of joy

: winner of the ATP Finals and the previous tournament in Adelaide, elated to return to the venue where he keeps

"the best memories"

of his career.

Novak Djokovic and a calm smile.

Photo: AP / Aaron Favila.

Affected in the hamstrings since Adelaide, Djokovic acknowledged having suffered

"with that a bit in the last seven days"

, but he was confident that he could play normally in his debut on Tuesday against the Spanish

Roberto Carballés


Djokovic, who fell to number 5 in the world after a season excluded from the Australian and United States Opens, faces the Melbourne Park tournament with the clear objective of matching Nadal's 22 grands.

"That's why I keep playing tennis professionally, because I want to be the best, I want to win the most important tournaments in the world. It's no secret

," said the Serb, who received a warm welcome from the Australian fans.

"There are a lot of young guys who are very hungry, who want to win. They want to skin you in the big stadium. I know that. But on this pitch, I have a chance against anyone

," said a confident Nole.

However, the new breed is willing to accelerate the change that began in 2022 which, for the first time in 19 years, ended without Nadal, Djokovic, Federer or the Scotsman Andy Murray at the top of the ATP ranking.

"I think this year will be a new opportunity for many more new players to demonstrate their authority, to leave their mark on tennis and reach the elite of the sport

," warned the young Australian Alex de Miñaur, with a Uruguayan father and a Spanish mother.

Nick Kyrgios will seek to be king in his land.

Photo: AP

And between both generations,

other names emerge

to take into account such as the Greek

Stefanos Tsitsipas

(number 4 in the world), the Russian

Andrey Rublev

, the controversial local idol

Nick Kyrgios

or the German

Alexander Zverev

, who returns from the chilling ankle injury in the semifinals in Paris.

And without forgetting the Russian

Daniil Medvedev

who, after losing the 2020 and 2021 finals to Djokovic and Nadal, hopes to make good the saying "third time's a charm" to win his second Grand Slam after the United States in 2021 .

By Daniel Bosque / AFP

look also

Guido Pella, with an open heart: "In 2022 I played just one game and it was the best year of my life"

Zverev's crude prediction: "Nadal will retire after Roland Garros"

Australian Open: a difficult draw for the Argentines and a possible final between Djokovic and Nadal

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-01-15

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