Aussie hopes need luck at the Open draw
Lleyton Hewitt, Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic will be hoping the tennis gods smile on them at Friday's Australian Open draw in Melbourne.
Lleyton Hewitt, Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic will be hoping the tennis gods smile on them at Friday’s Australian Open draw in Melbourne.
The country’s three leading men’s hopes are among a large contingent of Australians at the mercy of the draw, desperate to avoid running head on into the likes of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal in the opening round.
Hewitt, who turns 34 next month, is lining up for a record 19th consecutive Open tilt, but sentiment for the veteran baseline warrior will count for nothing after he failed to secure a seeding for the fifth straight year.
The 2005 runner-up and former world No.1 has had little luck at the draw since losing his seeding status, striking a seed first up in three of the past four years and crashing out in round one on each occasion.
After a strong start to the summer, Tomic looms as an unseeded dangerman to avoid, while the top 32 players with protection will also be anxious not to draw crowd favourites Kyrgios, Hewitt or former world No.4 Juan Martin del Potro.
On the comeback trail from an 11-month injury layoff, del Potro has shown in his return in Sydney this week that he still has the weapons to wipe any player off the court on his day.
Former world No.1 and two-time Open champion Victoria Azarenka is the big unseeded threat in the women’s event.
The Belarusian has slipped to 41st in the rankings after an injury-hit 2014.
Samantha Stosur, at 20th, and Casey Dellacqua, at 29th, are Australia’s only two seeds in this year’s singles draws.
Unlike at the Sydney International, where Stosur drew world No.16 Lucie Safarova in the opening round, and then the 25th-ranked Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, the US Open champion is guaranteed not to meet a higher-ranked opponent until at least round three in Melbourne.
Dellacqua will enjoy the same protection for the first time at her home grand slam after being seeded for only the second time at a major.