Ready to go
Stars say they have recovered from ailments as Australian Open begins today
The opening day of the Australian Open should provide quick answers to injury questions which developed during the past few weeks with two of the biggest stars in the women’s game.
Will six-time winner and defending champion Serena Williams be affected by inflammation in her left knee that forced her out of the Hopman Cup in Perth? And will Maria Sharapova, who lost to Williams in last year’s final, get through her first-round match without the recurrence of left forearm soreness that made her withdraw from the Brisbane International, where she was defending champion?
Both players said they’ve recovered from their respective ailments and are ready to go, Williams as the second match on the main Rod Laver Arena, Sharapova to open the night program at Margaret Court Arena.
Adding to a blockbuster first day are matches involving fivetime and defending champion Novak Djokovic and 17-time Grand Slam winner and fourtime Australian winner Roger Federer.
Here are some things to watch on today:
DON’T TELL ME, PLEASE – Seeded players can’t meet in the first round in a tournament, but Williams got the next-toughest assignment: the player with the highest ranking and not seeded. She’s Camila Giorgi of Italy and No. 36 in the rankings. The two have met just twice before – on clay – and Williams won in straight sets both times. Asked about Giorgi, Williams professed to not know who she was playing: “I don’t really ever look at the draw, so I would appreciate it if you didn’t mention it. Thank you.” That means she likely also doesn’t know she could face former No. 1 and close friend Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth round and No. 5 Sharapova in the quarterfinals.
Russia’s Maria Sharapova plays a shot during a practice session, ahead of the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne on Sunday.