As the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open has become something of a litmus test on how the rest of the year will pan out for the top seeded players.
Anything can happen, wildcards can create major upsets, fan favourites can falter and injuries can stop years’ worth of work.
Canberra tennis young star Nick Kyrgios and his doubles partner, fellow Greek Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis have been given a wildcard to the Australian Open.
It’s a year after Kyrgios won the Grand Slam’s boys’ singles title, beating out Kokkinakis in a hotly fought finals match.
Kyrgios will be up against Benjamin Becker of Germany, a tough opponent to beat and ranked at 81 on the ATP world rankings.
Kokkinakis has an even tougher task, drawing Igor Sijsling from the Netherlands ranked 69th in the world.
Finding out this week, 18-year-old Kyrgios was over the moon and said via Twitter: “I will give my all to put in great performances.”
The half-Greek, half-Malaysian player sadly had to pull out of the Brisbane International after nursing a shoulder injury, but has been training extra hard to start at a grand slam level.
Last year, starting off with the juniors title in Australia, Kyrgios managed to pick up a wildcard to last year’s French Open and qualified for the US Open.
Kokkinakis, on the other hand, made quite an impression at the Brisbane International this year, when he came up against Lleyton Hewitt. He had the top seed player on his feet, running for every ball and threw in some hard shots, but sadly it wasn’t enough to secure a win.
Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus is back in town, and must surely have a special place in his heart for the Australian Grand Slam, as his career best was on the Melbourne courts.
As the Australian Open is set to start on Monday, Baghdatis will be hoping to get a bit of that 2006 glory, when the then 20-year-old managed to get to the final against Roger Federer.
He has drawn Uzbekistani Denis Istomin for his first match, and at a world ranking of 59th Baghdatis might be struggling to secure a win.
Baghdatis has come from the Heineken Open in New Zealand on Wednesday, sadly losing out 7-5, 6-7 (3), 6-4 to American Steve Johnson.
It wasn’t good news for Greece’s Theodoros (Ted) Angelinos either, after he lost in the first qualifying round this week to American Alex Kuznetsov.
It was the Greek national’s first entry into a grand slam and he had high hopes, but he sadly lost out in two sets, 6-7, 4-6.