Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka have both had their first practice sessions at Melbourne Park ahead of next week’s Australian Open as they look to make their first competitive appearances since Wimbledon last July.
Djokovic, who has been dealing with an elbow injury, and Wawrinka, who had double knee surgery last August, will test themselves in a Tie Break Tens exhibition event on Margaret Court Arena on Wednesday January 10.
Both Djokovic and Wawrinka were due to appear at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi but pulled out stating they weren’t ready to compete.
Djokovic then withdrew from the Qatar Open.
Fans of the pair will be delighted to see footage of them training in Melbourne this week as they look set to make their long-awaited returns.
Djokovic arrived at the Australian Open with his new coach Radek Stepanek while Wawrinka is without Magnus Norman having ended his four-year partnership with the Swede last October.
Andy Murray is reportedly suffering from pain in both his hips, rather than just his right one, according to Pat Cash, who spoke to the Sunday Times about a conversation he had with the Scot in Abu Dhabi last week.
Cash, an ambassador for the Abu Dhabi event, apparently spoke to Murray about his physical problems that have sidelined him from the tour since Wimbledon last July. The Australian 1987 Wimbledon champion says Murray told him he has pain in both hips.
Murray flew to Brisbane from Abu Dhabi, in hopes of returning to action, but pulled out of the tournament, as well as next week’s Australian Open.
“I was talking to Andy in Abu Dhabi and told him I was getting pain in one of my hips and he told me his problems were in both hips,” Cash told the Sunday Times.
“He was pretty open about it and I thought he was resigned to the fact.”
He added: “Andy has been a great champion, but the way he has always played, in a style that relies so much on fitness and being stronger than the other guy, and the way he has punished his body, the end result was always going to be something like this.”
Murray posted an emotional message on his Instagram account last week detailing his struggle with his ongoing hip injury, and admitted that surgery is an option.
Cash’s comments imply the ex-world No. 1 is potentially facing double hip surgery.
Marvelling at the depth of medical knowledge that some ex players, radio presenters, journalists and sports pundits appear to have acquired recently. pic.twitter.com/f38XCN33xW
— judy murray (@JudyMurray) January 5, 2018
Caroline Wozniacki declared she was preparing for a “great” Australian Open as she closed in on regaining the world top ranking despite a surprise defeat in the WTA Auckland Classic final on Sunday.
The 27-year-old Dane is projected to rise to number two in the world when the new rankings are released on Monday and if results go her way in Australia she could make a record-setting return to number one, a position she last held six years ago.
The current record for the longest gap between being ranked number one is held by Serena Williams who spent five years and 29 days off the top spot between August 10, 2003, and September 8, 2008.
Although beaten 6-4, 7-6 (4) by world number 14 Julia Goerges in the Auckland final, Wozniacki said her preparation for Melbourne was on track.
“I’ve got a lot of matches under my belt this week, it was the preparation I hoped for,” she said.
“Now I can take a day off tomorrow and fly to Melbourne and get used to courts over there, and the conditions, and hopefully it’s going to be a great couple of weeks.
“Everyone wants to be number one, but it’s something I’ve done before and obviously it would be nice to do it again, but honestly I think i’m just thinking about being in the finals, holding trophies, lifting trophies.”
Wozniacki started last year ranked number 19 and by the end of the year, after winning the WTA Finals, she had risen to number three.
Meanwhile, Goerges is expected to rise from 14 to 12 when the next rankings come out as she enjoys a rich vein of form having won three consecutive tournaments.
She is on a 14-match winning streak with her success in Auckland following victories in Moscow and Zhuhai WTA tournaments late last year.
The 29-year-old German troubled Wozniacki with a big forehand that produced service breaks at the start of each set and a booming serve that delivered 11 aces.
Goerges dropped her serve once, at 4-3 in the second set, but never felt her form was dropping.
“It means you have to be there right away in the next game. I didn’t break her but I showed her I was still there and I was very happy that I could serve well at the end,” she said.
Head-to-head, Goerges now leads Wozniacki 6-4.
— WTA (@WTA) January 7, 2018