Rafael Nadal vs Hubert Hurkacz, Coco Gauff vs Jessica Pegula, and Novak Djokovic vs Daniil Medvedev are some of the practice matches fans will get to witness at the Australian Open this week. The organizers of the first Grand Slam tournament of the season have released a practice schedule in the week before the Australian Open, for which fans can buy tickets to matches featuring many top players.
Djokovic will take on good friend Nick Kyrgios in the ‘Arena Showdown’ practice match at Rod Laver Arena on Friday, January 13th, ticket prices for which are A$20 per person and go on sale on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, tickets for all other practice matches from Monday through Thursday are $5 for children and $10 for adults. The Australian Open has announced that all proceeds from ticket prices will benefit the Australian Tennis Foundation.
The star-studded ticketed practice week at the Australian Open began with a match between Denis Shapovalov and Holger Rune on Monday afternoon. American No. 1 and World No. 3 Pegula will take on her doubles partner and World No. 7 Coco Gauff, who enters the Australian Open fresh off a title in Auckland, in a practice match on Tuesday evening.
Felix Auger-Aliassime and Cristian Garin will then face off at 1 pm on Wednesday, January 11, before another mouthwatering prospect between Djokovic and Medvedev, starting at 2.15 pm on the same day. Djokovic and Medvedev met in the semifinals of the Adelaide International 1 on Saturday, which the Serb won 6-3, 6-4.
Thursday, January 12 then sees the most action in the ticketed practice week. Good friends and 2020 US Open finalists Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem will take to the court for a match at 3 pm before Aryna Sabalenka faces Maria Sakkari at 4.15 pm. Stan Wawrinka will then face a still-unknown opponent in the next session. Nadal and Hubert Hurkacz will then conclude the day of practice matches at 6.45 pm.
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 9, 2023
The match between Djokovic and Kyrgios will then be the main feature contest on Friday.
Rafael Nadal hits practice courts at Australian Open ahead of title defense
After a disappointing United Cup campaign, Rafael Nadal has already had a couple of intense practice sessions at the Australian Open, with exactly a week to go before the start of his title defense in Melbourne. The 22-time Grand Slam champion took to Rod Laver Arena last Friday with Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, who is coached by the Spaniard’s uncle and former long-time coach Toni Nadal. He then practiced with Bulgarian star Grigor Dimitrov on Sunday.
Nadal lost both his matches at the United Cup, against Cameron Norrie and Alex de Minaur respectively, after winning the opening set on both occasions. As a result of fellow Spaniard and world no. 1 Carlos Alcaraz’s withdrawal due to a leg injury, the 36-year-old will be the top seed at the 2023 Australian Open.