Barty to return to motion in Adelaide, Nadal and Osaka in Melbourne

MELBOURNE: Ashleigh Barty will return to motion for the primary time in 4 months at Adelaide in January whereas Naomi Osaka and Rafael Nadal kickstart their Australian Open build-up in Melbourne, officers stated Friday.

Barty hasn’t performed since a shock third-round loss on the US Open in September, however the Australian nonetheless completed 2021 as world primary after a season by which she gained 5 titles.

The reigning Wimbledon champion headlines an Adelaide Worldwide discipline that boasts 9 of the world’s prime 10 girls, together with Iga Swiatek, who shall be defending her title.

Former world quantity ones Garbine Muguruza, Karolina Pliskova and Victoria Azarenka are additionally entered for the January 2-9 occasion, together with world quantity two Aryna Sabalenka.

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The one prime 10 participant lacking in Adelaide shall be seventh-ranked Estonian Anett Kontaveit.

Defending Australian Open champion Osaka, who has slipped to 13 on the earth, will play on the Melbourne Summer season Set occasion from January 3-9, which options simultaneous girls’s and males’s tournaments.

She shall be joined by US Open champion Emma Raducanu, whose kind has slumped since her shock win at Flushing Meadows.

Others on the Melbourne invoice embody Simona Halep, Elise Mertens and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the top-ranked participant at 11.

US nice Serena Williams, who’s marooned on 23 Grand Slam titles — one wanting the all-time file held by Margaret Court docket — has pulled out of the Australian summer time, saying she was not “the place I have to be bodily”.

Learn extra: Djokovic on entry record for Australian Open, no Serena

A lot of the main males are scheduled to begin 2022 on the ATP Cup in Sydney from January 1, together with nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev.

However Spanish celebrity Nadal opted to skip it and can as a substitute have a lower-key preparation in Melbourne at a event additionally that includes former world quantity three Grigor Dimitrov.

Nadal, competing with Djokovic to be the primary man to achieve 21 Grand Slam titles, has hardly performed since dropping within the semi-finals of the French Open.

He plans to make his tennis return at an Abu Dhabi exhibition later this month earlier than travelling to Australia, the place all gamers are anticipated to be totally vaccinated in opposition to coronavirus.

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