Rafael Nadal set to return at Melbourne ATP 250, Iga Swiatek to start 2022 season in Adelaide

The left-handed Spaniard will lead a strong field that also includes former World No.4 Kei Nishikori and former World No.5 Kevin Anderson.

File photo - Rafael Nadal in action at Monte Carlo Masters; Credit: ATP Tour Twitter page

Rafael Nadal is all set to make his comeback from a foot injury at the ATP 250 event in Melbourne on January 4th. The left-handed Spaniard will be the star attraction of the tournament, as he leads a strong field that also includes former World No.4 Kei Nishikori, former World No.5 Kevin Anderson and 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion Grigor Dimitrov. Other competitors entered in the event include big-serving American Reilly Opelka, Kazakhstani standout Alexander Bublik and US Open quarter-finalist Botic van de Zandschulp. Nadal – No.6 in the FedEx ATP Rankings – has not competed since this year’s Citi Open, where he lost in the round of 16 to Lloyd Harris.

In the same week, French tennis play Gael Monfils will lead the playing field at an ATP 250 in Adelaide. It will also feature former World No.3 Marin Cilic. Besides, there will be a lot of young stars in action at the Adelaide tournament. Italian Lorenzo Musetti and Americans Sebastian Korda, Tommy Paul and Frances Tiafoe are some of the few.

Osaka, Raducanu lead Melbourne Summer Set field

Some of the biggest names in the WTA tennis circuit – four-time major titlist Naomi Osaka, two-time major titlist Simona Halep and reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu – are among the players who will begin their 2022 season competing in the Melbourne Summer Set. The trio are among 20 of the world’s Top 50 players on the entry list for the two WTA 250 tournaments scheduled to run from 3-9 January. 

Osaka will be competing for the first time since losing in the third round of the US Open to eventual finalist Leylah Fernandez. On the back of an injury-plagued 2021 season, Halep will look to build on her autumn resurgence, which saw her reach the Cluj-Napoca final on home soil. On the other hand, teenage sensation Raducanu, 19, will compete in her fourth tournament since winning the US Open as a qualifier in September.

The others on the list are Elise Mertens, winner of the Gippsland Trophy in Melbourne last year, and teenage up-and-comers Clara Tauson, Marta Kostyuk and Camila Osorio. Former Top 10 players Daria Kasatkina, Madison Keys and Caroline Garcia will also begin 2022 in Melbourne. Roland Garros finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Australian Open quarterfinalist Jessica Pegula are also expected to attend.

Defending champion Iga Swiatek to begin 2022 season in Adelaide

Defending champion Iga Swiatek and World No.1 Ashleigh Barty are among the top names who will kick off their 2022 season at the Adelaide International on 2nd January. The entry list for the WTA 500 tournament features nine of the world’s Top 10 players. 

WTA Finals champion Garbine Muguruza, Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova, and Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic, who was 2021 runner-up to Swiatek, are also scheduled to play in Adelaide. Aryna Sabalenka, Ons Jabeur, Coco Gauff and Paula Badosa are also expected to begin 2022 in Adelaide.

“We are thrilled to announce a star-studded field for week one of the Adelaide International,” Adelaide International Tournament Director Alistair MacDonald said. “Hosting nine out of the top ten women including World No.1 Ash Barty and defending champion Iga Swiatek is a huge coup for Adelaide. We are excited for everyone to join us for what is sure to be a wonderful fortnight of tennis.”

The full Adelaide International main draw entry list:

1    Ashleigh Barty (AUS) 

2    Aryna Sabalenka (BLR)

3    Garbine Muguruza (ESP) 

4    Karolina Pliskova (CZE)

5    Barbora Krejcikova (CZE)

6    Maria Sakkari (GRE)

8    Paula Badosa (ESP)

9    Iga Swiatek (POL)

10    Ons Jabeur (TUN)

12    Sofia Kenin (USA)

14    Elena Rybakina (KAZ)

15    Elina Svitolina (UKR)

17    Petra Kvitova (CZE)

22    Coco Gauff (USA) 

23    Belinda Bencic (SUI) 

24    Leylah Fernandez (CAN)

27    Victoria Azarenka (BLR)

28     Jelena Ostapenko (LAT)

30    Tamara Zidansek (SLO)

33    Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS)

Sportslumo Desk

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