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Top 4 Stories to Follow This Australian Open

4 years ago 860 Views

The 2018 Australian Open is fast approaching. Always one of the biggest events of the summer, the world's best tennis players come to Melbourne Park for 2 high-intensity weeks, packed with excitement and entertainment for everyone. Here are the top 4 stories to follow during the 2018 Australian Open.

Comebacks on the Men's Side

There are comebacks galore at the 2018 Australian Open. On the Men's side Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, and Kei Nishikori are all making their comebacks from injury in January.

Novak Djokovic serving at the Australian Open

The most noteable end to the 2017 season was undoubtedly Novak Djokovic. Unable to find the motivation and form that catapulted him to #1 and 12 grand slams, and also plagued by niggling injuries, Novak Djokovic called quits on the 2017 season and not long after Murray, Wawrinka, and Nishikori followed suit as the grinding men's tennis tour schedule took it's toll on their bodies. Andre Agassi (Novak's current coach) thinks Novak still has what it takes to be champion but we'll have to wait until January to find out.

Comebacks on the Women's Side

There are also some high profile returns to the 2018 Australian Open on the women's side as well - but for entirely different reasons. Serena Williams ended her 2017 season early to give birth to daughter Alexis. Remarkably she played and won the 2017 Australian Open while 4 weeks pregnant!

Serena Williams hitting a backhand

More controversially, Maria Sharapova will be making her return to the Australian Open after being absent this year due to serving a 15 month ban for using the performance enhancing substance meldonium.

The biggest question mark remains over Serena Williams as there's huge doubt over whether she can recover from pregnancy and get back to her best conditioning and form so soon. But with Serena anything is possible and she remains the biggest threat to Sharapova.

Changing of the Guard?

2017 saw the spectacular comebacks of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer who dominated and soared to #1 and #2 respectively after splitting the 4 grand slams between them. Most players are retiring at their age, but they showed the young Next-Gen players they're still a major force to be reckoned with.

So perhaps the biggest question going into 2018 is this: will the 5 players who have dominated the grand slams for more than a decade - Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, Wawrinka - continue to dominate, or will there finally be a changing of the guard and the stars of the younger generation - Alexander Zverev, Nick Kyrgios, Dominic Thiem, Jack Sock, and Grigor Dimitrov - break through and start winning grand slam titles?

Australian Prodigies

Speaking of Kyrgios, the bad boys of men's tennis are sure to make headlines again in January. The biggest doubt is over Bernard Tomic who has dropped outside of the top 100 and has admitted his commitment to the sport is not there. His best results usually come in Australia, but will that be enough to overcome his current slump?

Nick Kyrgios power serving at the Australian Open

Which leaves Nick Kyrgios as the most exciting and promising prospect heading into next year's Australian Open. While he continues to have his meltdowns, he had some strong results in 2017 and is hovering around 20 in the world despite struggling with a hip injury. If he's fit and well prepared he'll be one of the most dangerous players in the field.

Ash Barty is another Aussie young gun looking to make her mark at the Aus Open. Former Junior Wimbledon champion and still only 21 years old, she's made a comeback to the sport and has rocketed up the rankings from 254 at the beginning of 2017 to her current position of 17 in the world after a very strong finish to the year. She'll be looking to take the next step and make a run to the second week of a grandslam in front of her home crowd.

There's no better place to follow the action than by seeing it play out live at Melbourne Park. Get your tickets to Summer's biggest sporting event here.