By: Nashra Syed
With the 53rd Australian Open taking place this month, tennis fans are gathering from all over the world to watch their favourite players compete for the title. The tournament will host 32 male and female athletes whose games will go on from Feb. 8 to Feb. 21. Here are the top two athletes to look out for.
Serbian-born Novak Djokovic is a fan-favourite and man to beat in Melbourne. Currently ranked NO.1 by the ATP, Djokovic has won a total of 17 single Grand Slam titles and eight Australian Open titles all by the age of 33.
Djokovic turned pro at the age of 16 and has since brought down star players like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, both with whom he has a friendly rivalry. He is currently the record holder for most Australian Open titles won by a male player.
Djokovic plays with a strong right-handed, two-handed backhand. He has been a top contender in the ATP and won his first game of the tournament against Jeremy Chardy of France on Feb. 8.
Australian native Ashleigh Barty, who made her Australian Open debut in 2010 at 14-years-old, is set to play in this year’s tournament. She is currently sitting atop the WTA, followed by Simona Halep of Romania and Naomi Osaka of Japan.
Barty is no newbie to being at the top. Since June of 2019, she has been ranked NO.1 in singles tennis. She has eight single titles under her belt and a win to loss ratio of 252/92. Barty has also defeated women’s tennis icon, Serena Williams, so it’s safe to say she’s one to keep watch on.
Barty is right-handed with a two-handed backhand. She won her first game of the tournament on Feb. 9 against Danka Kovonic of Montenegro.
Along with Djokovic and Barty, some other players to watch out for are Bianca Andreescu of Canada, Sofia Kenin of America, Dominic Thiem of Austria and Daniil Medvedev of Russia.