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AO ATP LOOKBACK


Now that the first major of the season is won and done let's have a look at how a selection of players on the ATP side faired and what lies ahead. I will break it down into three categories, Good, Pass but wanting more, and Disappointed!


Good - Novak Djokovic, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Tommy Paul, Karen Khachanov, Ben Shelton, Jiri Lehecka, Sebastian Korda.


Pass but wanting more - Yannik Sinner, Alex De Minaur, Holgar Rune.


Disappointed - Daniil Medvedev, Felix Auger Aliassime, Andrey Rublev, Taylor Fritz, Matteo Berrettini, Dennis Shapovalov.


Good - Novak Djokovic:


Although you would have to say he got a very favourable draw and it turned out even better with results and injuries to other players, to handle all that was surrounding him and go on to win his 10th Australian Open and record-equalling 22nd major was an incredible effort.


With the fiasco around what happened last year leading to deportation, an injured hamstring and distractions from his father, he brushed it all aside and raised his level as he went along to show he is still the man to beat and will be at every event he plays throughout the 2023 season.


A meeting with (hopefully a fit Rafael Nadal) in the French Open final with them both tied on 22 Majors a piece is a mouthwatering prospect.


Good - Stephanos Tistsipas:


Tistsipas has had a fantastic start to the season going undefeated throughout the United Cup and all the way to the AO final. 10-1 win-loss on the season so far and although he will be disappointed he could not take the final against Djokovic deeper he has a great platform to launch his season from.


He should be a big contender at the upcoming sunshine double (Indian wells / Miami) and arguably his best surface is clay so expect him to be super dangerous at the French Open.


Good - Tommy Paul:


We saw a great run from Tommy at the AO making it to the semi-final where he was outclassed by Novak Djokovic. He has consolidated himself around the top 30 over the last couple of seasons and is starting to reach his potential as a highly touted junior. He will be looking to have a big run at the upcoming sunshine double.


Good - Karen Khachanov:


Back-to-back semi-final appearances in the last 2 Majors (US Open 22, AO 23) have shown that he turns up at the Majors. A very tough competitor who not only has a huge serve but has great rally tolerance. Karen will be looking to claim a big title again with Master 1000's events coming up and can never be discounted at the Majors.


Good - Ben Shelton:


After coming through a tough first round in 5 sets where he faced a match point against, the young American went on an incredible run to the quarter-finals. The big lefty serve and forehand did a lot of damage and considering this is the first time he has ever left the USA it was a mighty effort. A ranking jump up of 45 spots to world number 44 is now an excellent position to launch from for season 2023.


Good - Jiri Lehecka:


The young Czech who was runner-up at the Next-Gen finals last year went on a giant-killing run to reach the quarter-finals. Taking out 21st seed Coric, 11th seed Norrie and 6th seed Auger-Aliassime before going down to Tsitsipas. He has set himself up for a big season in 2023 with a rankings jump of 32 spots to be world number 39 which will allow him to play bigger events.


Good - Sebastion Korda:


After showing great form in Adelaide before the Australian Open where he pushed Djokovic all the way even having a match point, he continued his good form into the AO.


He played a brilliant match to take out Medvedev in round 3 and then again got over the line in a fifth set tiebreaker against an in-form Hurkacz before unfortunately succumbing to injury during his quarter-final clash. An incredible ball striker off both wings and has a great temperament the future is bright for Korda and I'd like to buy his stock.


Pass, but wanting more - Jannik Sinner:


Jannik would have been wanting more than a 4th round exit after making it to the quarter-finals in 3 of the 4 Majors last year. He did have incredibly tough losses to Alcaraz (who went on to win the US Open) in a 5-set epic and another 5-set loss to Djokovic (who went on to win Wimbledon) where he was 2 sets to 0 up.


A fifth-set loss here to Tsitsipas (who would go on to be a finalist) continues to show his level is right there but he needs to tighten the margins and find ways to get over the line in these close matches. I'm a big believer in Sinner's game and I still think the 21-year-old is on the right track and will be a contender at all the Majors for years to come.


Pass but wanting more - Alex De Minaur:


Alex did have a great start to the Aussie summer with a win over Rafael Nadal at the United Cup. He followed that up with 3 strong wins at the AO until running into Novak Djokovic in the 4th round who probably played his best match / highest level of the tournament Vs Alex.

Alex has said himself that he wants more and 4th round of Majors is not where he wants to be. We know Alex will always give his all on the court so let's hope he can find that little extra in his game to push deeper into Slams.


Pass but wanting more - Holgar Rune:


After claiming 3 titles in 2022 including the Paris Masters 1000 where he beat Carlos Alcaraz, Felix Auger-Aliassime and then Novak Djokovic in the final, there was a huge buzz around the highly talented teenager. He would be disappointed to lose in the 4th round to Andrey Rublev after having a match point and being in winning positions twice in the 5th set. Still, he has shown what he is capable of and if he can brush off this tough loss he looks to be a big player at all the Majors in 2023.


Disappointed - Daniil Medvedev:


Medvedev will be disappointed with his 3rd round loss to Sebastion Korda at the Australian Open. There were signs of Daniil finding form again in Adelaide before a disappointing loss there to Djokovic and that continued with him going down in straight sets to Korda.


Medvedev now ranked 12 in the world will be looking to turn his form around and will expect to be back in the top 5 by season's end, it's a big year for Daniil.


Disappointed - Andrey Rublev:

Perhaps I'm being a little harsh on Andrey here because he came up against Novak Djokovic in the AO quarter-finals but the fact remains the quarter-finals are a big stumbling block for him. He is now 0 wins and 7 losses at the quarter-final stage of the Majors and it would seem his game has limitations. A powerful striker off both wings but I believe his game is too one-dimensional, he needs to mix it up or add some things to be a factor at the Majors.


Disappointed - Matteo Berrettini (1st round loss), Taylor Fritz (2nd round loss) and Dennis Shapovalov (3rd round loss) would all also be very disappointed in their early exits and will be looking for a big response in the upcoming US hardcourt swing.


I'll finish off with a special shoutout to Andy Murray who played probably the 2 most exciting matches on the men's side. Taking out 13th seed Matteo Berretini in a fifth set tiebreaker after surrendering 2 sets to 0 lead in 4 hours and 49 minutes in an absorbing round 1 contest.


His round 2 match though will be one long remembered. This time coming back from 2 sets to love down Vs Thanasi Kokkinakis to win 7-5 in the fifth set in 5 hours and 45 minutes finishing at a ridiculous 4.05 am. It was a spellbinding performance from the 35-year-old with a metal hip and a huge heart.

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