Misc Tennis

Australian Open draw: Jack Draper to play Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray faces Matteo Berrettini

Jack Draper

Draper has climbed into the world’s top 40 after being ranked outside the top 250 a year ago
Dates: 16-29 January Venue: Melbourne Park
Coverage: Daily radio commentaries on 5 Sports Extra/BBC Sport website and app, with selected live text commentaries and match reports on the website and app

Rising British star Jack Draper will play top seed Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open first round, with Andy Murray also handed a difficult draw.

Murray faces 13th seed Matteo Berrettini, while Novak Djokovic makes his Melbourne return against Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena.

Emma Raducanu, who has been struggling with an ankle injury, has been drawn against Germany’s Tamara Korpatsch.

Raducanu, 20, could face seventh seed Coco Gauff in the second round.

After learning of his first-round meeting with 2022 winner Nadal, Draper said it would be “amazing to play on court with him”.

“He’s a great champion,” the 21-year-old added. “Whatever happens, it will be a special occasion for me.

“I’m still very young in my career so it’s great to have these sort of experiences and exposure to playing someone like Rafa on a big court like that.

“But I want to play really well and I want to compete hard and do the best I can.”

The Australian Open, which is the first Grand Slam tournament of the new season, takes place at Melbourne Park between 16 and 29 January.

Tough draws await Draper and Murray

Andy Murray and Berrettini
Andy Murray (left) was beaten by Matteo Berrettini (right) in the third round of last year’s US Open

Draper emerged as one of the rising stars on the ATP Tour last year and the left-hander has continued his rapid progress this season by reaching the Adelaide semi-finals.

But his debut in the main draw at Melbourne Park could not have been much tougher.

Nadal, 36, is the defending champion and, although he has struggled with injuries and lost his two matches so far this year, remains a daunting prospect for most opponents.

However, the 22-time major champion would also probably not wish to start against a young talent who possesses the power and confidence of 40th-ranked Draper.

Former world number one Murray will also be cursing his misfortune.

The 35-year-old Scot impressed earlier on Thursday by beating Australian Alex de Minaur in an exhibition match at the Kooyang Classic, saying afterwards he hoped for a kind draw at Melbourne Park.

Instead he was pitched against Italy’s Berrettini, whose big serving troubles most opponents and who reached the semi-finals last year.

What about the other British…

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