In just over three weeks, tennis fans will begin talking about what is going on at the Australian Open. The first Grand Slam of 2024 kicks off earlier than normal and goes from Sunday, January 14 through Sunday, January 28. After - at most - just six weeks off from the 2023 tennis season, tennis is about to be in full swing again.
This means watching some warm-up tournaments or exhibition matches as early as next week and those will include Novak Djokovic and others. Ahead of the Australian Open, the WTA will hold the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand. That tournament gets underway on January 1. The Brisbane International also begins the same day and is a WTA 500 event.
The Adelaide International is an ATP and WTA tournament that will run from January 8 through 13. Past winners include Djokovic, Andrey Rublev, Aryna Sabalenka, and Iga Swiatek. While Adelaide is a 250 event for the ATP and a 500 event for the WTA, the talent level involved makes for a great lead-up to the Australian Open. So does the next bit I will discuss.
Lleyton Hewitt is ready for the United Cup
2024 will mark the second year of the United Cup. While there are no points awarded for the ATP or WTA, there is no doubt about how good the players involved are. This is a team event, a bit like the Davis Cup or Billie Jean King Cup, but the United Cup combines both men's and women's players from their various countries. And the coaches are high-end as well like Lleyton Hewitt coaching Australia.
The event runs from December 29 through January 7 and features 18 teams. This is a must-watch event, however, because you will get to see Novak Djokovic leading Serbia, while Iga Swiatek will lead Poland. Other plays involved include Norway's Casper Ruud, the United States' Jessica Pegula, and Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas, among others.
Ajla Tomljanovic wants to get back to playing consistently
Ajla Tomljanovic had a wrectched 2023. She tried to play in the Australian Open but she hurt her knee and had to withdraw before the tournament started. She then took eight months off before trying again at the US Open, but in the second round, she had to withdraw from that Grand Slam as well. Still, she finished on a relative high note by winning the WTA 125 MundoTenis Open in late November.
Now Tomljanovic hopes to play at the Aussie Open in 2024. In an interview with the Australian Associated Press, she said, "I also am kind of going back to being just a kid playing again because I'm excited to just be part of these events again because you don't know how well you're going to do until you step on the court."
That's the perfect way to move past injuries and look ahead to the potential of the future.
Emma Raducanu is ready for 2024 with the help of a familiar face
Raducanu was another player who had to deal with injuries in 2023. She rarely played, and when she did she struggled to make it through matches. Then after playing at the Stuttgart Open in June, she was forced to have surgery on both wrists and her left ankle. She also let go of her coach.
But to help prepare for the future, she has brought back Nick Cavaday. Cavaday was her junior coach in London. Of course, those junior years feel like a thousand years ago, but Raducanu is still only 21 years old. Let's just hope she has a great 2024.