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Nadal, Osaka, Wozniacki set to return to 2024 Australian Open

Rafael Nadal Rafael Nadal - The Canadian Press

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Three former Australian Open champions — Naomi Osaka, Caroline Wozniacki and Angelique Kerber — are set to return to Melbourne Park in January following maternity leave, joined by 2022 winner Rafael Nadal and hometown favorite Nick Kyrgios.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley told the tournament launch Wednesday that Nadal (left hip flexor) and Kyrgios (knee, wrist) are expected to return from major injuries in a bid to challenge Novak Djokovic’s dominance at Rod Laver Arena, where he has clinched 10 of his record 24 Grand Slam titles.

“Our 2022 champion Rafa Nadal has been working hard on his rehab for most of this year," Tiley said. “He always brings his best to Melbourne and no one can doubt how hard he competes. I’ve been in touch with his team and he’s now back on the court and looking forward to returning to Melbourne in January."

Nadal has won two of his 22 Grand Slam titles in Melbourne — the first came in 2009.

“I appreciate the vote of confidence from the Australian Open… I am practising every day and working hard to come back asap,” Nadal wrote on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

Tiley said Djokovic and No. 2-ranked Carlos Alcaraz are expected to lead the men's contingent, while leading players Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek and U.S. Open champion Coco Gauff are also expected to play in the women's draw.

The tournament will run from Jan. 14-28, with its opening day of play on a Sunday for the first time. The Australian Open joins the French Open as the only tennis majors to be held over 15 days.

Tiley also announced that the tournament will honor Australian great Evonne Goolagong Cawley on the 50th anniversary of the first of her four Australian Open titles in 1974. She also won Wimbledon twice and the French Open once.

Tiley said Goolagong Cawley's image will feature on the coin used before matches at the Australian Open and at all warm-up tournaments in Australia in advance of the first major of the year.


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