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Alcaraz, Nadal and Djokovic in the same half of the Australian Open draw? It’s possible
Stefanos Tsitsipas could move up to No 2 this weekend and pinch the No 2 seeding in Melbourne
What if the key to the first Grand Slam of the season was Stefanos Tsitsipas? Thanks to his strong performances in the United Cup, where Greece will play in the semi-finals starting this Friday, the Greek could make the Australian Open draw even more interesting to watch, and have a big impact on the tournament.
If Tsitsipas beats Matteo Berrettini on Friday, he will move ahead of Casper Ruud as the No 3 in the ATP rankings. If he beats Berrettini, if Greece advance to the final and then he beats Hubert Hurkacz or Taylor Fritz on Sunday, he will move ahead of Rafael Nadal to No 2 in the rankings.
If it happens, Tsitsipas would then be seeded No 2 at the Australian Open and a half of the draw with Carlos Alcaraz, Nadal and Novak Djokovic could be created in Melbourne! It is a scenario that has already happened at the French Open in 2022. The Majorcan crossed paths with the Serbian in the quarter-finals before winning the tournament.
Nadal’s defeats could be costly
Of course, there are still many ifs and buts for this scenario to happen but Tsitsipas is in superb form at the start of the season and is undefeated at the moment in the United Cup with three wins from three matches against Grigor Dimitrov, David Goffin and Borna Coric. He will also have to rely on his compatriots to go all the way in the United Cup.
Nadal no longer has his fate in his own hands and could find himself with world No 1 Alcaraz and former No 1 Djokovic in his section. His two losses in two matches at the United Cup to Cameron Norrie and Alex de Minaur could cost him dearly, as could his poor finish to the 2022 season. The Spaniard has won just one of his last seven matches on the ATP Tour.
If the man with 22 Grand Slam titles – and the man who will be defending champion in Melbourne – drops from No 2, he will have to hope that the draw is in his favour. Having the No 1, No 3 and No 5 seeds fall into the same half draw is not impossible; indeed, it happened at Wimbledon in 2022.