Game, Set, Match: Everything you need to know about the Australian Open 2022

The Australian Summer of Tennis is officially upon us.
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The Australian Open has officially arrived! And with it comes our renewed obsession with all things tennis.

WATCH: Sofia Kenin Wins 2020 Australian Open Title

If, like us, you’ll be tuning into the AO and hoping to see an Aussie take out the title on the famous blue court then we’ve got you covered with everything you might want to know.

When is the Australian Open 2022?

The 2022 Australian Open will kick off on the 17th of January 2022 with the Women’s Final to air on the 29th of January and the Men’s Final to air on the 30th of January. The Wheelchair event will kick off from the 23rd of January and wrap up on the 27th.

Where can you watch the Australian Open 2022?

Australia’s Summer of Tennis will play out on the Nine Network as part of their Wide World of Sports coverage. Australian Open coverage kicks off live on TV at 10am (AEDT), Monday 17th January.

You can watch coverage of main events on the Nine Network throughout the tournament, and catch every single match on their free streaming service 9Now. 

Dylan Alcott
Dylan Alcott has won at the AO seven times in a row. (Credit: Getty Images)

Which Australian tennis players are competing in the Australian Open 2022?

This year, Aussies will have their fair share of players (and former champions) to root for.

In what will be his last tournament ever, after announcing his retirement at the end of last year, Dylan Alcott will return to defend his Wheelchair Quad Singles title one last time. The World No. 1 has won the title seven years straight, and will be aiming to take out the top prize for an eighth and final time.

Ash Barty will be attempting to back up her 2021 Wimbledon and 2019 French Open wins, with her first ever win at the Aus Open. The World No. 1 is expected to perform well on the blue courts, after making it to the Quarter Final in 2021 and Semi Final in 2020. In the lead-up to the Aus Open, she won the Adelaide International last week in straight sets against Elena Rybakina.

Sam Stosur will compete in her final Australian Open in the singles arena, saying “once I made the decision, then I felt really good about it.” However she’ll continue her professional career in doubles after this event, with her partner Zhang Shuai.

World No. 34 Alex de Minaur will return to compete in the Men’s Singles Event. The fan-favourite Aussie tennis star made it to the Third Round last year, and is on a roll after beating World No. 7 Matteo Berrettini at the ATP Cup event in Sydney.

Nick Kyrgios has made it to Melbourne just in time for the AO, flying down on Sunday ahead of the event kick-off on Monday. The 26-year-old player tested positive for COVID one week earlier and isolated in Sydney until receiving a negative test result.

Other Aussies include James Duckworth, John Millman, Alexei Popyrin and Jordan Thompson, Astra Sharma and Ajla Tomljanovic. See the full list of players here.

Nick Kyrgios
Nick Kyrgios is one of five Aussie men competing in the Singles. (Credit: Getty Images)

What are the COVID-19 and vaccination rules?

Players, support staff, officials, fans and anyone who wants to attend the tennis must be fully vaccinated or have a medical exemption. Excluding those aged younger than 12 years and two months.

International players had to present proof of a negative test in the 72 hours before travelling to Australia, where they had to isolate until returning a further negative test on arrival.

But, not all stars have returned negative tests upon arrival.

What happened with Novak Djokovic and the Australian Open?

Amid speculation over whether or not he would attend the Australian Open, Novak Djokovic pulled out of the ATP Cup earlier in the month.

On January 4, Novak uploaded an Instagram post revealing he had received a medical exemption to attend the Australian Open and would be flying down to Melbourne to compete. The post sparked major backlash as the public learned he was receiving an exemption, as he is unvaccinated. 

But then, his visa was denied by Border Force upon arrival at Tullamarine Airport in Melbourne.

Novak was granted an exemption. (Credit: Getty Images)

What followed was a lengthy back-and-forth court process that saw the unvaccinated tennis player temporarily placed in a detention hotel, allowed out into the community in Melbourne when Judge Anthony Kelly overturned the decision, returned to a detention hotel when his visa was cancelled again by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, and then, finally, deported on January 16 by the Federal Court.

One thing is clear from the muddy, confusing mess that is the Djokovic saga: the players are sick of it.

The legendary Rafael Nadal told a press conference that no single player is bigger than the Australian Open and revealed he was tired of the “circus” around the star.

“I’m just a player seeing the circus from the outside. But, as I said, I am a little bit tired of this matter,” he told CNN.

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal is back on the court just weeks after testing positive for COVID-19. (Credit: Getty Images)

“It’s very clear that Novak Djokovic is one of the best players of the history, without a doubt,” Nadal said in a presser. “But there is no one player in history that’s more important than an event.

“Australian Open is much more important than any player. If he’s playing finally, OK. If he’s not playing, Australian Open will be great Australian Open with or without him.”

Meanwhile Aussie Alex de Minaur said it had taken a spotlight away from the competitors. 

“I’m just ready to put all of this behind me and focus on playing my tennis matches… we all just want to get on with our own stuff.”

alex de minau
Alex de Minaur is one of many players keen to move on from the drama. (Credit: Getty Images)

Who currently holds the Australian Open Championship title?

Novak Djokovic defeated Daniil Medvedev in the Men’s Singles Grand Final, while Naomi Osaka defeated Jennifer Brady in the Women’s Singles Grand Final.

Joachim Gérard defeated Alfie Hewett in the Wheelchair Men’s Singles, Diede de Groot defeated Yui Kamiji in the Wheelchair Women’s Singles, Dylan Alcott defeated Sam Schröder in the Wheelchair Quad Singles.

Who is tipped to win the Australian Open 2022?

Sure to change based on the early match performance, here’s who is currently tipped to win and be named runner-up in the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles according to SportsBet:

Predicted Men’s Singles Winner: Daniil Medvedev

Predicted Men’s Singles Runner-Up: Alexander Zverev

Predicted Women’s Singles Winner: Ash Barty

Predicted Women’s Singles Runner-Up: Naomi Osaka

ash barty
World No. 1 Ash Barty will aim to win her first AO. (Credit: Getty Images)

The Australian Open will air on the Nine Network and 9Now from January 17 – 30, 2022.

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