Australian Open draw: Jack Draper to play Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray to meet Matteo Berrettini


Rising British star Jack Draper will face Rafael Nadal in the first round of the Australian Open, while Andy Murray has also been drawn in a tough draw.

Murray will face 13th seed Matteo Berrettini, while Novak Djokovic returns to Melbourne against Spain’s Roberto Carballes Bayena.

Emma Raducanu, who is suffering from an ankle injury, played against Germany’s Tamara Korpatsch.

The 20-year-old Radukanu could face seventh seed Coco Gauf in the second round.

The Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tournament of the new season, will be held at Melbourne Park from January 16 to 29.

Draper and Murray are in for tough draws

Andy Murray (left) was beaten by Matteo Berrettini (right) in the third round of last year’s US Open

Draper, 21, emerged as one of the rising stars on the ATP Tour last year and the left-hander has continued his meteoric progress this season by reaching the Adelaide semi-finals.

But his main draw debut at Melbourne Park couldn’t have been much more difficult.

Nadal, 36, is the defending champion and, although he has struggled with injuries and lost two of his matches this year, remains a scary prospect for most opponents.

However, the 22-time major champion would also likely be reluctant to start against a young talent with the power and confidence of the 40th-ranked Draper.

Former world number one Murray will also be cursing her bad luck.

The 35-year-old Scot impressed earlier on Thursday to defeat Australia’s Alex de Minaur in an exhibition match at the Kooyang Classic, saying he was hoping for a good draw at Melbourne Park afterwards.

Instead, he was pitted against Italy’s Berrettini, whose big serve troubles most opponents and who reached the semi-finals last year.

What about other Brits?

Emma Radukanu
Emma Raducanu said this week she was trying “not to expect too much” but hoped to be fit for the tournament

Raducanu, who shocked the world by winning the 2021 US Open junior qualifier, suffered what she described as further misfortune when last week sprained her ankle in Oakland.

This has led to doubts over whether she will be ready to play in Melbourne, but she has been practicing on court for the past few days and her moves have seemed to improve with each session.

Raducanu is ranked one spot below Korspach at 75th in the world, but the 27-year-old German has never won a main draw match at a major.

Cameron Norrie, Britain’s top-ranked player and the 11th seed, starts against France’s Luca van Asche, who is seeded under, while 25th seed Dan Evans takes on Argentina’s Facundo Bañez.

Another challenge for the British player was Kyle Edmund, a 2018 semi-finalist returning from three knee surgeries, against Italian 15th seed Yannick Sinner.

Harriet Dart, the only other Briton in the women’s draw, starts against Switzerland’s 32nd seed Jill Teichmann.

Djokovic will know his opponent after his return

Nine-time champion Djokovic missed last year’s event after being deported from Australia over his vaccination status and returned after last week won the title in Adelaide.

The 35-year-old Serb, who is also bidding for a 22nd major title, which would equal Nadal’s men’s record, has lost just one of his last 25 matches.

Seeded fourth, Djokovic will not meet Nadal until the final but could face favorite Nick Kyrgios in the quarter-finals.

In the women’s draw, world No. 1 Iga Sviatek, who reached the semifinals last year, starts against recent Wimbledon quarterfinalist Julie Niemeyer of Germany.

Another attractive draw: Belarusian Victoria Azarenka and American Sofia Kenin, both former champions, will meet in the first round.

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