Novak Djokovic returns as the man to beat and Emma Raducanu hopes to lead the British bid at the Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic returns as the man to beat and Emma Raducanu hopes to lead the British bid at the Australian Open.
Casper Ruud continued his ascent in 2022, advancing to his first two Grand Slam finals and reaching the championship match at the Nitto ATP Finals.
Fans will be able to take a behind-the-scenes look at the Norwegian’s year by watching Netflix’s Break Point, which premieres on 13 January. Ruud spoke to ATPTour.com about his experience working with the Netflix crews, the one place he did not allow them to go, and how F1: Drive To Survive changed his driver preferences.
What was the experience always having a crew around?
They are asking for a lot and I gave them what I feel comfortable with. You won’t see me in my hotel rooms and so on, too much in my personal life, because it’s not something I’m too comfortable sharing.
They were there when I made both finals this year in Grand Slams, which I’m sure they have caught some good moments on tape. In the Slams they tended to film me in my warmups and we like to play a lot of games with footballs and stuff. I hope that they caught some of the members of my team screwing up the soccer tricks. That is what I’m hoping for a lot and that I can do all the tricks perfectly and that all my team members can do them wrong!
Where did you come up with those games?
It’s just challenges, really. Any trick or move that is challenging to try to make, making it look simple. That’s sort of what Roger has done in tennis. He’s made it look simple and it’s not, so if you can do that, it means you’re good and I’m not sure if I can do that in soccer, but some juggling and dribbling I can do, I’ve learned to do. It’s not world-class material, I would say. But for me, I’m happy with it.
Obviously the two Slam finals, those were big moments for you and you wanted to give everything to that, so did any part of you with the cameras around thinking about needing to focus?
Not really. I haven’t been joking or playing too much around the cameras because I’ve been focussed. I think I’m quite professional in the way I go about things and in my career especially, so I don’t want to waste energy trying to be a clown on TV when there’s a match to be played. I can let someone else do that.
How much Netflix do you watch?
I watch quite a lot, honestly. One of my favourite shows is Stranger Things, so I hope they can produce Season 5 very fast, because I am dying to watch it.
Do you download it for the plane rides?
Yes, especially. That’s a good thing with Netflix. I think they were the first ones where you could download the episodes, so that’s perfect for me and my travelling. They have everything. Good TV shows, good documentaries, movies, so it’s a good platform.
You’ve mentioned you were watching Drive To Survive. Who are the drivers you grew to like?
Before watching the show I was a [Lewis. Hamilton fan because he was winning mostly. And I didn’t follow that much, he was just a cool guy and a cool figure to sort of have on the front of the sport. He’s a cool guy, he interacts with other people… I used to follow him on social media.
But other than that I didn’t know too many until [the show]. Of course I knew Kimi Raikkonen, he is a very funny guy. But now in the guys driving this year, I think maybe [Charles] Leclerc is my favourite. I’m still . Hamilton fan and I was heartbroken [in 2021] with the finish. I think it was stunning my heart for weeks, it still does when I talk about it. But Leclerc and Hamilton, maybe.
If there is a player you’d want to see do something like this with Netflix behind the scenes, who would it be and why?
I think obviously Roger would be fun to get an insight into his life. Both professionally and personally. Obviously as a father he has four kids and there are a lot of things that go on, but I don’t think it will happen as far as I’m concerned [laughs].
But yeah, these sorts of shows are more about the younger guys, the newish generation that is coming up and you will see. It’s going to be interesting anyway to see what other players do in their spare time, their off time and in their personal life how messy their hotel rooms are, because mine tend to get pretty messy!
So that’s why you didn’t want them in there? [laughs] That could be one of the reasons [laughs].
I bring my physio bench, a treatment table, to tournaments and that table just gets loaded and loaded day by day with more clothes. Clean clothes, luckily. But I gave up on organising it into the closet and everything. So the massage table is actually more for clothing storage. And then when I have to do treatment, I just throw everything over to the bed and then put it back on the massage table afterwards.
Did you ever wish the cameras weren’t there?
I don’t know, not really. I think they caught the perfect balance between not too little and not too much. Obviously coming into the locker room and stuff can be a bit of a challenge for a camera crew, it can be a bit intimate and stuff. But sometimes they come into the locker room.
I think what people are going to find probably the most interesting is just the joy when you see your team after winning a match and that’s not in the locker room, that’s when you walk on or off centre court, which is very fun and some of the best feelings that we have.
Are you excited to sit down and watch it right away when it comes out?
Honestly I don’t love watching myself on TV, so most appearances that I do, either in an interview or a talk show, I don’t watch them myself. But also it’s because I know what I’m saying so I don’t need to watch it again. I was there saying it myself, so what’s the point of watching?
But this is going to be different because it’s Netflix. It’s a big show and you’ll have millions of people watching it.
It’s going to be interesting to watch the other players and I think they have caught some very cool moments on camera with the other players, including myself, reaching finals of Grand Slams and they were around. I think it’s going to be fun to watch and I think I’m going to watch the whole episode probably of myself and I’m going to be a bit nervous to see how it is.
Judging by the Netflix Break Point launch on Thursday evening in Melbourne, the tennis docuseries is going to be a smash hit.
Players — both those featured and others competing in the Australian Open — joined invited guests for an early look at the first episode of the series, which officially premieres on 13 January.
Of the featured players in the show, Matteo Berrettini, Taylor Fritz, Nick Kyrgios, Frances Tiafoe and Ajla Tomljanovic were in attendance. They then joined together for a celebration of the historic series inside Rod Laver Arena.
Others in attendance included Holger Rune, Patrick Mouratoglou, Sam Groth, Alicia Molik, boxer Michael Zerafa, Break Point executive producer Paul Martin and Netflix Director of Documentary Series Gabe Spitzer.
Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley was thrilled for the season’s first major to host the event.
“The players are the centre of everything and [the show is] about the stories of the players,” Tiley said. “Many of us know what they are, but now the rest of the world is going to find out, too.”
After walking the red carpet with girlfriend Morgan Riddle and taking pictures with the likes of Berrettini and Tiafoe, Fritz shared his anticipation for the launch.
“I’m just super excited for the show to come out,” Fritz said.
Britons Cameron Norrie and Jack Draper continue their Australian Open preparation by reaching semi-finals at their respective warm-up events.
Britons Jodie Burrage and Lily Miyazaki lose in the final round of qualifying for the Australian Open main draw.
Tennis fans have been eagerly anticipating the year’s first major, and with the draw now set, it’s clear that the Australian Open will provide fireworks from Day 1.
Thursday’s draw ceremony revealed a host of marquee matchups in the men’s singles opening round, including Matteo Berrettini taking on Andy Murray and Andrey Rublev squaring off with Dominic Thiem.
ATPTour.com breaks down five matches to watch in the first round Down Under.
Murray has a chance for instant Grand Slam revenge after a closely contested four-set loss to Berrettini at the 2022 US Open. Berrettini also defeated Murray in the Stuttgart final last season, and will bring a 3-1 ATP Head2Head edge into their Melbourne meeting. Murray’s lone win against Berrettini came in 2019 (Beijing).
Berrettini, who is featured in Netflix’s Break Point tennis docuseries, enjoyed a career-best run to the Australian Open semi-finals last year, including an epic five-set win against Carlos Alcaraz. His journey with Team Italy to the final of the inaugural United Cup leaves him with plenty of match play ahead of the Murray showdown. Berrettini produced a 3-2 singles record to open his 2023 season at the mixed-gender team event, earning Top 10 wins against Casper Ruud and Hubert Hurkacz before tight losses to Stefanos Tsitsipas and Taylor Fritz.
Murray, by contrast, has played just one ATP Tour match this season — a straight-sets defeat to eventual finalist Sebastian Korda at the Adelaide International 1. A five-time finalist in Melbourne, the Briton reached the second round last year after earning his first win at the event since 2017.
Two of the game’s biggest baseline hitters will trade blows in a matchup that would have been reserved for the later rounds in years past. As Thiem continues to work his way back up the Pepperstone ATP Rankings following a wrist injury, he has lost the protection of a Grand Slam seed. But if he can break Rublev’s four-match winning streak in their ATP Head2Head series, Thiem will inherit the fifth seed’s path in the draw.
The pair last met in the 2022 Gijon semis, with Rublev earning a 6-4, 6-4 victory on the way to the title.
Neither man will be particularly happy to face such a challenging first-round opponent in Melbourne, but whoever comes through this blockbuster matchup will be battle-tested for the journey ahead.
Defending champion Rafael Nadal will not have the luxury of playing his way into the tournament, with the dangerous Jack Draper awaiting him in the opening round. While Nadal is still seeking his first win of 2023 after two United Cup defeats, Draper already owns a Top 20 win this year after he beat Karen Khachanov to advance to the semi-finals at the Adelaide International 2.
Draper also upset Tommy Paul in Adelaide in what will serve as a warning shot to Nadal, who was beaten by Paul at the Rolex Paris Masters in November.
The matchup will be the first between the 36-year-old Nadal and the 21-year-old Draper, who competed at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan to close out his 2022 season.
“It’ll be amazing to play on court with him, he’s a great champion,” Draper said of Nadal. “[There are] a lot of emotions obviously when I think of playing him, but that’s one thing… I’ve still got to go and play tomorrow [in Adelaide] and hopefully do well in this tournament first.
“Whatever happens, it’ll be a special occasion for me, still very young in my career, so it’s great to have these sort of experiences and exposure to playing someone like Rafa on a big court like that. But I want to play really well and I want to compete hard and do the best I can.”
Home favourite Thanasi Kokkinakis will look to extend his perfect 2-0 record against Fabio Fognini in this matchup, one year after storming to the Australian Open doubles title alongside Nick Kyrgios. The Aussie has never been beyond the singles second round at his home Slam, but he will enter this year’s event full of confidence after upsetting Andrey Rublev in Adelaide this week — a year after lifting his first ATP Tour title in his hometown.
Fognini will be seeking his first win of 2023 after a three-set defeat to Jenson Brooksby this week at the ASB Classic. The Italian has reached the Australian Open fourth round on four occasions, most recently in 2020 and 2021. He also reached the men’s doubles quarter-finals at the event last season alongside Simone Bolelli.
Two Next Gen ATP Finals alumni will square off in this intriguing contest, with both men eager to build on strong 2022 seasons. Borna Coric was named the Comeback Player Of The Year in the 2022 ATP Awards for his success after missing a year due to a shoulder injury. After making his return at Indian Wells, the 26-year-old charged back into the winners’ circle in style at the Western & Southern Open, defeating Nadal, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Tsitsipas en route to the ATP Masters 1000 title.
Jiri Lehecka finished his 2022 campaign by reaching the finals in Milan before kickstarting the new season with a win against Alexander Zverev at the United Cup. The 21-year-old is set to meet Coric for the first time in Melbourne.
Rising British star Jack Draper will play top seed Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open first round, with Andy Murray also handed a tough draw.
Rafael Nadal will face a difficult opening test at the Australian Open against British lefty Jack Draper, while Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios are in the same quarter of the draw, it was revealed Thursday afternoon at Melbourne Park.
Defending champion Nadal will need to be sharp from his first match against Draper, a 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals competitor. The 21-year-old, who owns two Top 10 wins, has made a quick start to his season. The World No. 40 will compete in the Adelaide International 2 semi-finals on Friday.
View Full AO Draw
If 22-time major winner Nadal navigates past the British star, his path will not get much easier, with one of two Americans — Mackenzie McDonald or Brandon Nakashima — waiting in the second round.
Also in the Spaniard’s quarter is seventh seed Daniil Medvedev, which means a rematch of the 2022 Australian Open final between Nadal and Medvedev could be played in the last eight. Sixteenth seed Frances Tiafoe, who upset Nadal at last year’s US Open, is a potential fourth-round opponent for the lefty.
Photo Credit: Graham Denholm/Getty Images
In the bottom half of the draw, nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic and Australian Nick Kyrgios landed in the same quarter. The 19th-seeded Kyrgios could play ninth seed Holger Rune in the third round and fifth seed Andrey Rublev in the fourth round before a quarter-final clash against Djokovic, who begins his pursuit of a record-tying 22nd major title against Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena.
Rublev’s first-round clash will be a blockbuster against his close friend, former World No. 3 and 2020 Australian Open finalist Dominic Thiem. Thirteenth seed Matteo Berrettini will open against former World No. 1 Andy Murray.
More to come…
They say revenge is best served cold, but Jack Draper was in no mood to wait during the hot Australian summer.
One week after losing to Karen Khachanov in Adelaide, the 21-year-old Briton snapped back at the same venue with a 6-4, 7-6(3) win on Thursday at the Adelaide International 2. The victory earns Draper his second ATP Tour semi-final appearance.
Aggressive from the first ball with his first-strike tennis, Draper saved the only break point he faced until he stepped to the line to serve out the match at 5-4 in the second. After a loose game gave new life to the third-seeded Khachanov, a visibly frustrated Draper regrouped to finish the match in straight sets.
“In the last game I got a bit nervous, but that’s part of the game,” the lefty said in his on-court interview. “I’m still young, I’m still learning from these things.”
The crucial point of the tie-break came at 2-1, when Draper defended from corner to corner, ultimately drawing an error to claim a mini-break. This time he would not let the lead slip, mixing in a serve-and-volley to close out a tie-break in which he won all five of his service points.
“Against guys like Karen, you can’t give them an inch, otherwise they run away with it,” Draper said after earning his first ATP Head2Head win in three tries against Khachanov. “He plays so aggressively and serves really big. Off the back of the court he looks to be on the front foot, and if you’re not willing to try and get up there with him, he takes charge of the game. I did well to impose my game a little bit more today than last week.”
Draper’s win against the World No. 20 comes after two Top 10 victories last season over Stefanos Tsitsipas (Montreal) and Felix Auger-Aliassime (US Open). Entering the week at a career-high of No. 40 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, the Briton will be the favourite in his semi-final matchup against either qualifier Mikael Ymer or lucky loser Soonwoo Kwon.