‘Disregarded’: Wimbledon champ’s ugly Aus Open snub

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Reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina has been shunted to the outside courts, in a brutal snub for one of many match’s drawcards.

Rybakina, who picked up zero factors for her Wimbledon triumph the place she defeated Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur, will face Italy’s Elisabetta Cocciaretto far-off from centre court docket – and even one of many different present courts.

No, as an alternative she’ll be holed up on Courtroom 13 within the baking mid-afternoon Melbourne warmth, together with her match scheduled for 4.15pm.

The choice incensed followers, with revered tennis author Ben Rothenberg surprise why the 23-year-old had been ‘so rapidly disregarded’.

“Reigning Wimbledon champ Elena Rybakina bought relegated all the best way out to the hinterland of Courtroom 13 for her first #AusOpen match,” Rothenberg wrote on Twitter.

“I perceive there’s a saturation of current ladies’s Slam champs, to an extent, however has a reigning Wimbledon champ ever been so rapidly disregarded?”

The scheduling of one-time US Open champion Dominic Thiem’s mouthwatering first-round match-up with fifth seed Andrey Rublev has additionally raised eyebrows.

The pair will open John Cain Enviornment on Tuesday, with the 11am begin not anticipated for a showdown of two of the highest-profile stars on the boys’s tour.


Novak Djokovic “likes his possibilities” of profitable a record-extending tenth Australian Open crown, regardless of lingering damage worries.

After lacking final 12 months’s match when he was deported over his Covid vaccination stance, the Serbian star is again at Melbourne Park and in scorching kind.

He tweaked a hamstring in Adelaide and remains to be getting therapy, however insisted he was prepared for an additional two-week marketing campaign to doubtlessly win a record-equalling twenty second Grand Slam.

“I’ve been combating {that a} bit, to be trustworthy, the final seven days,” he stated of the damage.

“But it surely’s hopefully not a significant concern. Up to now I’ve been capable of prepare, compete and play factors, observe units. In order that’s a constructive signal.

“Clearly I’m being a bit extra cautious. I’m not going full out on the coaching periods, conserving the vitality for subsequent week. Hopefully it gained’t trigger a problem for me then.” Seeded 4, the 35-year-old faces Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena in spherical one and stated that regardless of the damage niggle “I like my possibilities”.

“I all the time like my possibilities. I prepare as laborious as actually anyone on the market,” he added.

“There’s lots of kids now which are very hungry, that wish to win. They wish to take a scalp off you on the massive stadium. I do know that.

“However expertise of being in these sort of explicit circumstances helps I feel to have the fitting strategy and do issues in a correct manner.

“As a result of I do know once I’m wholesome and taking part in my finest, on this court docket (Rod Laver Enviornment) I’ve possibilities actually towards anyone.”


Rafael Nadal has shut down a rival’s retirement principle concerning the Spanish famous person.

German Alexander Zverev speculated that the French Open may very well be Nadal’s remaining match earlier than deciding to hold up his racquet.

“Rafael Nadal will announce his retirement at Roland Garros,” Zverev informed reporters at Melbourne Park on the eve of the Australian Open.

“I don’t want him this, however I feel he’ll play an enormous match, possibly wins it after which says goodbye.”

Nevertheless, Nadal was having none of it when the speculation was put to him.

“I don’t know what’s going to occur in six months,” he stated.

“I’ve an excellent relationship with Zverev, however not sufficient to admit one thing like that to him. The truth is that I’m right here to play tennis, attempt to have an ideal 2023, combat for every little thing that I’ve struggled all through my profession and I don’t take into consideration my retirement.”


Alexander Zverev believes the 2023 French Open may very well be the final time we see Rafael Nadal on a tennis court docket.

The German world No.12 has returned to the game this 12 months after a horrific damage which noticed him tear three ligaments in his proper ankle throughout his semi-final match towards Nadal at Roland Garros in 2022.

However as Zverev seems to be ahead to a 12 months wherein he hopes brings a primary ever Grand Slam title, he believes that it may very well be the final for the tennis legend.

Not solely this, the previous No2 believes the Spaniard will take his final bow by claiming his fifteenth title on the well-known clay court docket on the French Open.

Talking to Eurosport, Zverev stated: “Rafael Nadal will announce his retirement at Roland Garros.

“I don’t want him this, however I feel he’ll play an enormous match, possibly wins it after which says goodbye.”

Hypothesis of retirement has surrounded Nadal for the previous few years, but rumours have all the time been shut down by the 22-time Slam winner.

However at 36, Nadal has proven no indicators of slowing down, claiming the Australian and French Open titles final 12 months while sitting second on the planet rankings behind countryman Carlos Alcaraz.

If Nadal was too retire, he would be part of long-time good friend Roger Federer who determined to name it a day on his profession final 12 months, 4 years after his remaining Grand Slam win in Australia 2018.

Earlier than any speak of retirement continues nevertheless, each Zeverev and Nadal have the Australian Open to deal with.

The 2 met in Melbourne again in 2017, with Nadal edging out the win over 5 units within the spherical of 32.

In the event that they had been to fulfill once more in 2023 it could be on the Rod Laver Stadium within the remaining, with the gamers being in reverse sides of the draw.

First, Zverev should tackle a qualifier within the first spherical while Nadal will meet Nice Britain’s Jack Draper as he seems to be so as to add a twenty third Grand Slam title to his assortment, probably the most of any participant in historical past.


Owen Leonard

A refreshed teaching line-up and motivational movies on social media have Alexei Popyrin able to exorcise the psychological demons that haunted him throughout a “robust” 2022 marketing campaign.

The New South Welshman reached a career-best world rating of 59 in late 2021 however dropped out of the highest 100 final season after a collection of early-round exits in tournaments all over the world.

Popyrin has twice reached the third spherical of the Australian Open, constructing a repute over 2019-21 as a participant of the long run.

Nonetheless simply 23, Popyrin says final 12 months’s failures served as a steep studying curve, including a beefed up teaching workforce has set him on the fitting path for 2023.

“Final October, I stated, ‘Sufficient’s sufficient’. I began to plan out my workforce, employed a coach, stored my second coach, bought a brand new health coach and a brand new physio,” Popyrin stated on Sunday.

“I bought Xavier Malisse (former Belgian world no. 19) in my workforce. He’s in my nook proper now. “He’s actually helped me lots when it comes to my sport, however when it comes to the psychological facet, when it comes to attempting to remain constructive … He’s all the time sending me these inspirational movies, quotes, attempting to maintain my head area in area.”

Popyrin has since adopted one thing of a nothing-to-lose mindset, saying his rating “can’t actually drop any additional than it has already”.

“Proper now I really feel no stress in any respect coming into this AO, coming into the beginning of the 12 months.

“I really feel like I’ve bought a clear slate. I really feel like I can play my tennis, I can play freely, and hopefully get my rating up.”

The lanky competitor, a wildcard choice for the match, comes up towards Tseng Chun-hsin in his first spherical, a 21-year-old from Taiwan who he defeated on the first spherical of final 12 months’s US Open.

“It’s going to be a troublesome battle, it’s going to be 36 levels on the market on Tuesday.

“He’s actually match. I’ve identified him since he’s been 16, 17 years previous. We’ve observe collectively so many instances.”



Greek gun Stefanos Tsitsipas is drawing on samurai warrior tradition as he prepares for Australian Open battle in a bid for his maiden grand slam title.

The 24-year-old ace out of Athens will sport a taking part in equipment primarily based on the “historic warrior spirit of Japan” for the match, impressed by his curiosity in learning cultures all over the world.

Tsitsipas acknowledges the affect of Historical Greek tradition – a deep and broad self-discipline in its personal proper – however says wanting past the historical past of his dwelling soil helps him attain an additional stage.

“I’m excited about cultures, I’m excited about languages. I do know life goes past my tradition, Historical Greek tradition, which has left lots of marks behind in historical past and time,” Tsitsipas stated.

“There are different cultures on the market which are additionally very thrilling to study, to get to know higher. Japanese tradition is a really modest, very reasonable tradition of their society, as properly.

“It has intrigued me in a strategy to comply with it extra carefully, to study from it. I feel there’s so many classes you possibly can take – even tennis gamers – by studying about historical past, studying about how issues developed.”

Tsitsipas says he was drawn to the samurai “preventing spirit”, a worth he hopes to embody by way of his marketing campaign.

“All these fighters that led Japan to its fashionable society at present, traditions are hidden, they’re there, however they’re hidden.

“Not many individuals know in regards to the Japanese tradition. I’ve been very excited about studying extra about it. The Japanese jersey represents me at its fullest.”

Tsitsipas commences his quest on Monday night time towards Frenchman Quentin Halys, an opponent he hasn’t bothered to acknowledge.

“I don’t know,” he says when requested what he makes of his first-round activity. “I do not know him in any respect.”

Researching historic cultures clearly leaves no time for learning the world no. 64.

Nonetheless, Tsitsipas says the “proper execution” will come from the “proper preparation”, with “staying within the sport” to be his chief focus for the match.

“I must continuously be within the mindset of bouncing again stronger,” he stated. “We’ve youthful guys coming from behind (and) we nonetheless have Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal taking part in good tennis.

“We’re coping with lots of various things being thrown at us. In my case, I do know that this 12 months lots of issues will be completed. I’ve the capability to face up to the pressures and the challenges.”

Initially revealed as Australian Open 2023 reside scores, schedule, order of play: Wimbledon champion snubbed

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