Casual Spectator previews this tennis grand slam tournament: what you need to know.
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Jan. 19—Feb 1, 2015
The 2015 tennis season officially began a few weeks ago, but the Australian Open, the first grand slam event of the year, kicks things off today for the casual fan. Here’s what you need to know.
From the men’s side
At least half of the Big Four (Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray) figure to make a run at the 2015 title. Djokovic is playing as well as ever, having won seven titles last season. He’s the top seed. Federer comes in ranked second. He already has a title on tour this year and got his 1,000th career win in doing so. Nadal, however, is attempting to overcome wrist and back injuries that forced him to miss the second half of last season. He lost to an opponent ranked outside the top 100 in his only match so far in 2015, but is still ranked third. Questions also surround Murray (No. 6 seed), who hasn’t looked right since back surgery in 2013.
For fresh faces, look no further than defending champion Stan Wawrinka. The 29-year-old Swiss player became just the second since 2005 outside the Big Four to win a tennis major when he beat Nadal in the 2014 final. He’s ranked fourth this year. Also keep an eye on No. 8-ranked Milos Raonic. The Canadian’s 2015 season is off to a great start as he barely lost to Federer in the Brisbane International final earlier this month.
From the women’s side
Familiar faces are still commanding the women’s game, with Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova ranked first and second, respectively. Sharapova already has a 2015 title, while Williams is always one to beat at a major. They’re the favorites, but anything could happen as the women’s game is as wide open as it’s ever been. Former top seed Caroline Wozniacki is playing peak tennis and is ranked eighth, while Venus Williams (No. 18) should never be counted out.
The younger generation also has some title contenders. No. 3 Simona Halep of Romania will be looking to build off a great 2014 and win her first major. Canadian Eugenie Bouchard (No. 7) will also look to build off the momentum she gained from thumping Serena Williams at the Hopman Cup earlier this month.
Cover Photo Credit: AP Photo/Bernat Armangue
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