British hopes for the opening Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open which starts in Melbourne next week, had mixed fortunes as the draws for the first round of the men’s & women’s singles where made.
British men’s number one Kyle Edmund (pictured)who reached the Semi final of this event last year has had his preparation hampered with a knee injury that saw him withdraw from last weeks Sydney International. Currently ranked 14th in the World Kyle will face a former Wimbledon finalist in Tomas Berdych who currently sits at 57th in the world.
The draw wasn’t kind to five time Australian Open finalist Andy Murray who is attempting to kick start his career after suffering an awful 18 months. In that time, he has undergone hip surgery and struggled to get anywhere near his best, playing just 12 match’s last season and crashing out of the Brisbane open in the second round, before looking well off the pace in a practice match against World Number one Novak Djokovic, winning just two game before deciding enough was enough!
Murray who is currently ranked 230 in the world and used his protected ranking status to enter the competition will face number 22 seed Roberto Bautista Agut from Spain. Another Britain with hopes of making it past the first round is Cameron Norrie who has been drawn against Taylor Fritz an American currently ranked 43 places higher. However, in a week where Norrie has held his own with players much ranked much higher whilst representing Britain in the Hopman cup Norrie will be optimistic he could cause an upset and play himself into the next round
Meanwhile the draw was slightly better for British Women’s number one Johanna Konta who has reached the semi final of this competition in the past and will play one of the Australian hopefuls Ajla Tomljanovic. With only 7 places separating the pair in the current world rankings Konta will be looking to start 2019 with a bang and start the climb back up the ranking system after a difficult 2018.
Britain’s other two female hopes in the draw, Heather Watson and Katie Boulter have also both been given opposition further up the ranking system, however both women come into the competition in reasonable form and will at the very least make their opponents work to earn a place in the next round.
The final two british hopes of making the first round draw are Dan Evens and Harriet Dart, however the pair must win their final qualifying match’s first before they find out their next opponents.