ATP – WTA NewsTim Strawn
Nadal to play Melbourne says Djokovic well positioned for more slams
Rafael Nadal will make his Tour-level return at the Melbourne 250 tournament, set for January 3-9th. Grigor Dimitrov, Kei Nishikori, Reilly Opelka, Alexei Popyrin, David Goffin and Jordan Thompson are among the players set to join Nadal in the Melbourne 250 field.
It will be Nadal’s first ATP event in five months. Nadal pulled the plug on his 2021 season to rehab a chronic foot injury following a three-set loss to Lloyd Harris in Washington, DC last August. The 35-year-old Nadal, who is scheduled to play the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition in Abu Dhabi this month, will use the Melbourne 250 as preparation for the Australian Open, which begins on January 17th.
The sixth-ranked Spaniard and world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who is on the entry list for the ATP Cup in Sydney and the Australian Open, are both chasing a men’s record 21st Grand Slam championship at the 2022 Australian Open.
The Big 3—Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer—are deadlocked at 20 Grand Slam titles apiece.
Two-time Olympic gold medal champion Nadal cites Djokovic’s lofty level of play—and the fact rival Federer is rehabbing from his fourth knee surgery and the Spaniard himself is coming back from a foot injury—pointing to the 34-year-old Serbian owning the men’s major mark when all is said and done.
“Djokovic is best positioned to be the player with the most Grand Slams,” Nadal said. “You don’t have to fool yourself—Federer is where he is and I am where I am,” Nadal said. “However, Djokovic is playing well and in a good moment.”
Serena says no to AO
The 23-time Grand Slam champion has withdrawn from the 2022 Australian Open on advice of her medical team. Williams’ withdrawal means she won’t match Margaret Court’s all-time Grand Slam record of 24 major titles in Melbourne. The seven-time Australian Open champion has not played a match since retiring from her Wimbledon opener after suffering a torn hamstring against Aliaksandra Sasnovich last July. Williams registered a 12-5 record in 2021, reaching the Roland Garros fourth round and Australian Open semifinals. While Williams did not disclose a date for her return, she said she’s “excited to return and compete at my highest level.” “While this is never an easy decision to make, I am not where I need to be physically to compete,” Williams said in a statement. “Melbourne is one of my favorite cities to visit and I look forward to playing at the AO every year.
“I will miss seeing the fans, but am excited to return and compete at my highest level.”
Delgado parts with Murray will now work with Shapovalov
Andy Murray has parted ways with longtime coach Jamie Delgado and will begin working with Jan de Witt, the former coach of Gael Monfils, Gilles Simon and Nikoloz Basilashvili. Delgado worked with Murray for five seasons, including 2016, the year he won his last Grand Slam title at Wimbledon. Murray just completed a trial with coach Esteban Carril, but will not work with him in 2022. De Witt, who recently trained with Murray for a few days in Roehampton, will travel with Murray to the Mubadala World Championships in Abu Dhabi next week.
Murray is currently ranked 134 and has just completed a promising season that was also a struggle in many ways. He went 15-14, and earned two Top-10 wins in his final three events of the season, but he has not ranked inside the Top-100 since June of 2018, and he did not reach a single semifinal at tour-level in 2021. It has also been revealed that Delgado will begin working with 22-year-old Denis Shapovalov’s team.
Raducanu Signs on with Evian
The US Open champion has signed on as global brand ambassador for Evian. “It’s an honor to join the Evian team,” Raducanu said in a statement. “Evian is an iconic brand and a champion of tennis and the younger generation – that’s why I’m proud to join the Evian roster of Global Brand Ambassadors.
“Being an athlete, healthy hydration continues to be of the upmost importance to my day-to-day activity so I’m excited to partner with evian and can’t wait to see what’s next.”