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Australian Open ‘Void’ as Big-name Casualties Mount

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Australian Open ‘Void’ as Big-name Casualties Mount

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Novak Djokovic ploughs on with a foul hamstring however the 2023 Australian Open will already be remembered for the sheer variety of shocks and an absence of “star” names.

Iga Swiatek’s defeat on Sunday makes it the first Grand Slam since the Open era began in 1968 to lose the top two seeds in both the men’s and women’s draws before the quarter-finals.

Halfway through the tournament, fans stop to snap pictures with a large poster of Rafael Nadal on display at Melbourne Park but the man himself is long gone.

The top men’s seed and defending champion looked far from his brilliant best in his opening match and then went out in the second round to unseeded American Mackenzie McDonald.

The 36-year-old Nadal, who has a record 22 major crowns to his name, was badly hampered by a hip injury as he bowed out in straight sets on Wednesday.

“Definitely there’s kind of a void,” stated spectator Rob Duff, after photographing his son subsequent to the picture of the Spanish nice.

“The Australian tennis followers, we like to see the massive names, and when they’re out, it takes (away) slightly little bit of the match.”

– ‘Devastated’ –

The first Grand Slam of the year is barely into its second week but the die was cast even before a ball was hit.

Two greats of the game, Serena Williams and Roger Federer, retired last year and, despite the American hinting she could make a return to tennis, she was never expected in Australia.

Another big miss, especially for home fans, was the reigning women’s champion Ashleigh Barty. The Australian retired in March last year while the dominant number one.

More big names fell by the wayside in the days before the tournament. Injured men’s number one Carlos Alcaraz pulled out, then so did two-time Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka.

There were fears the 25-year-old former world number one might quit tennis altogether, but Osaka later clarified that she was pregnant and expects to return to the court in 2024.

The first day of the Grand Slam saw yet another popular figure withdraw, without even stepping on court.

Australian showman Nick Kyrgios, the Wimbledon finalist and a crowd favourite, said he had a knee problem that would require minor surgery.

“I’m devastated, obviously,” he instructed a rapidly organized information convention.

– ‘Playing amazing’ –

When an already depleted Australian Open started, many high-profile gamers simply saved shedding.

Men’s second seed Casper Ruud adopted Nadal out in spherical two, as did the ladies’s second seed Ons Jabeur.

Daniil Medvedev, the Russian who reached the finals on the final two Australian Opens, was subsequent to go when he misplaced in spherical three.

It has left Stefanos Tsitsipas as the highest-ranking males’s seed left at three and in with a giant probability to win his first Grand Slam.

Nine-time Melbourne champion Djokovic may have rather a lot to say about that, however the Serb is struggling together with his left hamstring forward of his last-16 assembly with Alex de Minaur.

On yet one more day of surprises Sunday, prime girls’s seed Swiatek and seventh seed Coco Gauff have been each dumped out, promptly adopted within the males’s draw by sixth seed Felix Auger Aliassime.

Holger Rune, the surviving ninth seed from Denmark, stated the outcomes have been proof of the excessive normal in males’s tennis.

“I see each match is hard and I’ve to be at 100 p.c as a result of everyone is enjoying wonderful,” said the 19-year-old.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 employees and is printed from a syndicated information company feed)

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