(January 17, 2022)
Ash Barty, Naomi Osaka and Rafael Nadal had easy victories on Monday, day one of the 2022 Australian Open in Melbourne Park.
Defending champion Osaka, the 13th seed, won the first five games on her way to a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Camila Osorio of Colombia.
While the women’s defending champion is in Melbourne Park, men’s champ Novak Djokovic was deported on Sunday when his visa was rejected. Asked about Djokovic Osaka said: “Is my opinion going to help anything?” Yeah, I’ll pass on that. Thanks though.”
“My goal, like even before this whole situation, is to just focus on myself more, what I need to do to become better,” Osaka said to media.
“Me, I’m a tennis player. I’ll focus on my matches. You as, I guess, an audience, focus on whatever is in the news, no?”
Top seed Ash Barty made quick work of qualifier Lesia Tsurenko iqualifier Lesia Tsurenko i 6-0, 6-1. Asked about being a veteran at 25, she said to media: “Where I am at the moment is a product of all the experiences that I have had, the hard learnings, the incredible moments, and I am where I am. We just accept that, we enjoy the journey as we go, we try and be really present and enjoy the moment.”
Other women’s seeds advancing to the second included French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, fifth-seeded Maria Sakkari, No. 15 Elina Svitolina, 22nd seed and Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic and two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, the 24th seed.
Eleventh seed and 2020 champion Sofia Kenin lost to Adelaide winner Madison Keys, while 18th seed Coco Gauff could not find her rhythm against Wang Qiang 6-4, 6-2.
In men’s action, 2009 champion No. 6 Rafael Nadal won 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 win over Marcos Giron. It was his 70th match win at the Australian Open. Nadal is the only former men’s champion in the draw. He is seeking a record 21st major title.
Asked about the Djokovic saga, Nadal responded:
“By the way, I’m quite tired of that subject. When he won the first trial I said here that the justice had spoken. Yesterday the decision was different. I will never be against what the justice says”.
“What I believe it would be better for the sport would be having all the best players here, including Djokovic. Another thing is what happened. I think the situation is very clear now”.
“Always had a good relationship with my rivals. Life is better that way. With Novak it’s been like that all my life. I wish him all the best. The situation was a mess and he wasn’t the only one who did things the wrong way. But he is one of the responsibles too”.
“I understand that ‘GOAT’ movie you are all creating, but I live my day by day, my concerns, that are different from being the GOAT (…) I’m happy with my career. I’m not desperate to be the one, to be the GOAT. If it happens, happens. My future doesn’t depend on that.
Other men’s seeds advancing were No. 3 Alexander Zverev, No. 7 Matteo Berrettini, No. 10 Hubert Hurkacz, No. 16 Cristian Garin, No. 17 Gael Monfils and No. 23 Reilly Opelka, No. 12 Cameron Norrie lost in straight sets to Sebastian Korda, while No. 30 Lloyd Harris fell to Australian wild card Aleksandar Vukic.