Rafael Nadal after winning the 2022 Australian Open
Rafael Nadal after winning the 2022 Australian Open | (Photo by MARTIN KEEP/AFP via Getty Images)

Tennis | Australian Open 2023 | Men’s Draw Preview

By Tony Fairbairn

  • Rafael Nadal looks to defend his title with Novak Djokovic chasing a historic tenth Australian Open title.
  • Top Seeds: Rafael Nadal, Casper Ruud, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Novak Djokovic
  • British Interest: Cameron Norrie [11], Dan Evans [25], Andy Murray, Jack Draper, Kyle Edmund [PR]
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Rafael Nadal is looking to defend his Australian Open title and search for more history while Novak Djokovic returns to Melbourne looking for a tenth Australian Open.


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[1] Rafael Nadal

Best Result: Title (2009, 2022)

The Spaniard enters his title defence without wins and doubts over his match fitness however never rule out the defending champion.

Nadal’s Path to the Final (Ranking/Seeding)

  • R1: Jack Draper | H2H: First Meeting
  • R2: Brandon Nakashima | H2H: First Meeting
  • R3: Yoshihito Nishioka [31] | H2H: Nadal leads 2-0
  • R4: Frances Tiafoe [16] | H2H: Nadal leads 2-1
  • QF: Daniil Medvedev [7] | H2H: Nadal leads 5-1
  • SF: Stefanos Tsitsipas [3] | H2H: Nadal leads 7-2
  • F: Casper Ruud [2] | H2H: Nadal leads 2-0

Nadal is definitely a draw loser here with the Spaniard being handed a difficult draw especially with in-form players such as Jack Draper and Brandon Nakashima in the opening two rounds. In the second week Nadal will have to deal with the big serve of Frances Tiafoe and an Australian Open final rematch with Daniil Medvedev could await in the last eight. Overall Nadal will have to be on the top of his game to have a chance of reaching the final let alone going all the way.


[2] Casper Ruud

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Best Results: Fourth Round (2021)

Ruud will look to play his way into the tournament having not done off-season training and entering the first Grand Slam of the season with limited match practice.

Ruud’s Path to the Final (Ranking/Seeding)

  • R1: Tomas Machac | H2H: First Meeting
  • R2: Jenson Brooksby | H2H: Ruud leads 1-0
  • R3: Alejandro Davidovich Fokina [30] | H2H: Tied at 1-1
  • R4: Matteo Berrettini [13] | H2H: Ruud leads 4-3
  • QF: Taylor Fritz [8] | H2H: Ruud leads 1-0
  • SF: Novak Djokovic [4] | H2H: Djokovic leads 4-0
  • F: Rafael Nadal [1] | H2H: Nadal leads 2-0

Ruud will be happy with his first week draw as he can work his way through the tournament with only Jenson Brooksby providing a significant test. However the second week is brutal with Matteo Berrettini in the last 16 with Ruud recently losing to the Italian at the United Cup. Then an in-form Taylor Fritz would await in the last eight before nine-time champion Novak Djokovic being a significant obstacle en route to the final. The Norwegian would be happy with a second week outing here although there is motivation of being world number one should he reach the latter stages in Melbourne.



[3] Stefanos Tsitsipas

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Best Result: Semi-Final (2019, 2021, 2022)

Tsitsipas enters the Australian Open in good form with four good victories over world class opposition and will look to make the final in Melbourne for the first time.

Tsitsipas’s Path to the Final (Ranking/Seeding)

  • R1: Quentin Halys | H2H: Alcaraz leads 1-0
  • R2: Rinky Hijikata [WC] | H2H: First Meeting
  • R3: Botic Van De Zandschulp [32] | H2H: First Meeting
  • R4: Jannik Sinner [15] | H2H: Tsitsipas leads 4-1
  • QF: Felix Auger-Aliassime [6] | H2H: Tsitsipas leads 5-3
  • SF: Rafael Nadal [1] | H2H: Nadal leads 7-2
  • F: Casper Ruud [2] | H2H: Tied at 1-1

In general Tsitsipas will be pleased with his draw although Quentin Halysbig serving will provide Tsitsipas with a tough opening round test. A last 16 meeting with Jannik Sinner could be interesting although Tsitsipas won their meeting last year comfortably and then a last eight clash with Felix Auger-Aliassime could be decisive in terms of who could reach the final. Overall Tsitsipas will fancy his chances of reaching a first Australian Open final and who know maybe go all the way to claim his maiden Grand Slam title.


[4] Novak Djokovic

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Best Result: Champion (2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2020, 2021)

Djokovic heads into his favourite Grand Slam with confidence having won the title in Adelaide, winning some tough matches along the way.

Djokovic’s Path to the Final

  • R1: Roberto Carballes Baena | H2H: Djokovic leads 1-0
  • R2: Hugo Dellien [PR] | H2H: Djokovic leads 1-0
  • R3: Grigor Dimitrov [27] | H2H: Djokovic leads 9-1
  • R4: Pablo Carreno Busta [14] | H2H: Djokovic leads 4-2
  • QF: Andrey Rublev [5] | H2H: Djokovic leads 2-1
  • SF: Casper Ruud [2] | H2H: Djokovic leads 4-0
  • F: Rafael Nadal [1] | H2H: Djokovic leads 30-29

Djokovic will be delighted with his draw as on paper he won’t have to waste too much energy and can take on the second week with maximum strength. A quarter-final against Andrey Rublev could pose it’s problems and Casper Ruud may take a couple of sets off the nine-time champion. Ultimately though Djokovic is favourite to claim his tenth Australian Open title and create more history in Melbourne.

The Australian Open takes place between 16-29 January (GMT +11 hours).


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