The official 2024 tennis season gets underway on Sunday when the Brisbane International begins. The United Cup has already started but no ATP or WTA points will be awarded. The event is still a must-watch for tennis fans, however, as the tournament is basically a mix between the Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup and features mixed doubles.
Fans will get their first look at what kind of form Rafael Nadal is in at Brisbane. Nadal has not played in almost a year after suffering a hip injury in the second round of the 2023 Australian Open. He is not the favorite to win, but hopefully he will get a few matches in to help prepare for the 2024 Aussie Open.
The Australian Open begins earlier this year. After qualifying, the main draw begins on January 14 and will run through January 28. But one top women's player will miss out on the first Grand Slam of the year.
Karolina Muchova withdraws from the Australian Open
Karolina Muchova made the French Open final in 2023 before falling to Iga Swiatek in three sets. While the Czech did not win any titles last year, she still ranks No. 8 on the WTA and she made the WTA Finals in 2023. But due to some wrist pain she had been struggling with, she was forced to withdraw from that event.
Unfortunately, Muchova is still dealing with the pain and she was forced to withdraw from the 2024 Australian Open. Wrist pain is no fun for the general population, of course, but for a tennis player it can cost a player their living. Hopefully, Muchova will recover from whatever the wrist issue is, but since she has now pulled out of two tournaments a few months apart, one might wonder when she will ever play again.
Boris Becker won't join Holger Rune in Brisbane
Becker was hired by Rune late in 2023 after Rune had struggled with form for much of the middle of the year. While Rune did not win a tournament with Becker as his coach, the Dane made much deeper runs in a few tournaments and seemed to be rounding back into top-five form. But while Boris Becker is expected to be with Rune once the Australian Open begins, Becker will miss the Brisbane International.
While Becker appears to be visiting São Tomé and Príncipe with his current girlfriend, Rune also won't have Becker's co-coach, Severin Luthin, in Brisbane. Instead, Rune will temporarily hire Kenneth Carlsen to advise him in Brisbane. That seems like a strange way to begin the year.
Rafael Nadal officially lands in Australia
There is no going back now. After a year-long absence due to his hip injury, Nadal landed in Brisbane this week ahead of the Brisbane International. Now let's just hope he stays healthy. Maybe he will even surprise everyone and make a run at the title in Brisbane.