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Players coming in hot to AO 2023

  • Vivienne Christie

The late-season swing can provide some fascinating twists in professional tennis.

With all four Grand Slams completed, some players wind back their seasons; others ride the momentum of career comebacks, title breakthroughs or new rankings highs.

Here are some late-2022 standouts who will aim to build on that form at AO 2023. 

Novak Djokovic

Record since US Open: 22-2 

After adding to his illustrious history with a seventh Wimbledon title (and 21st Grand Slam in total) in mid-2022, Novak Djokovic provided yet another reminder of his champion credentials at the end of the year.

Four finals appearances delivered three titles, in Tel Aviv, Astana and at the ATP Finals in Turin.

The latter marked a record-equalling sixth season-ending championship for Djokovic, who dropped only one set in his five match wins.

Now through to the semifinals at Adelaide International 1 to open his 2023 season, momentum is firmly on side as the 35-year-old Djokovic targets an astonishing 10th title at Melbourne Park.

Caroline Garcia

Record since US Open: 8-4

From an inauspicious start to the 2022 season, losing to qualifier Hailey Baptiste at the Australian Open, Caroline Garcia made a stunning finish to her career-best year.

Following a first Grand Slam semifinal appearance at the US Open, Garcia claimed her biggest career title at the WTA Finals. At age 29, the Frenchwoman was competing at the elite season-ending tournament for the first time in five years.

RELATED: With biggest career title at WTA Finals, is AO success next for Garcia?

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That performance, combined with other 2022 titles in Cincinnati, Bad Homburg, Warsaw, elevated Garcia back to No.4 in rankings – and firmly into the conversation on title contenders at AO 2023.  

Felix Auger-Aliassime

Record since US Open: 23-7

From a stunning start, Felix Auger-Aliassime achieved an even better finish to a career-best year in 2022.

In January, he led Canada to ATP Cup victory and was an AO quarterfinalist, falling in five thrilling sets to Daniil Medvedev.

In a glorious late-season swing, the smooth-hitting 22-year-old lifted trophies in Florence, Antwerp and Basel to arrive at his current ranking high of world No.6.

A 16-match winning streak ended in the Paris Masters semifinals, but after leading Canada to a first-ever Davis Cup title with three straight match wins, Auger-Aliassime was high on confidence and in sparkling form.

A surprise loss in the opening round of Adelaide International 1 could be merely a blip as he targets an even deeper run at AO 2023.

Jessica Pegula

Record since US Open: 10-5

Alongside happy memories from consecutive quarterfinal appearances in the past two editions of the Australian Open, Jessica Pegula brings confidence from her stellar end to the year.

In October, the 28-year-old American lifted a second singles trophy at the WTA 1000 tournament in Guadalajara, where victims included Grand Slam champions Bianca Andreescu and Victoria Azarenka.

Pegula also contested both singles and doubles (with Coco Gauff) at the WTA Championships and launches her fourth Australian Open main-draw campaign at a career-high world No.3.

She will enter the year's first Grand Slam event even more confident after a spectacular display to dismiss top-ranked Iga Swiatek 6-2 6-2 in the United Cup semifinals in Sydney. 

Holger Rune

Record since US Open: 20-4

From outside the top 100 last January, Holger Rune powered into the game’s elite in a stunning conclusion to his breakthrough year.

With a big-hitting style and unshakeable confidence, the Danish teenager completed 2022 by reaching four straight finals.

Runner-up in Sofia and Basel, he was triumphant in Stockholm and at the Paris Masters, where he claimed five victories over top-10 names. The most impressive of those wins came against Novak Djokovic in a gripping final, which marked Rune’s 19th wins from 21 previous matches.

HOLGER RUNE: "I got more belief that night"

At age 19 and with big-stage credentials well established, the 11th-ranked Rune is unquestionably one to watch. 

Like Auger-Aliassime, he will be hoping to rebound from an opening-round loss at Adelaide International 1.

Liudmila Samsonova

Record since US Open: 8-3

Ranked world No.60 in early August, Liudmila Samsonova made rapid moves in the second half of the year.

With back-to-back titles at Washington and Cleveland, the 24-year-old established the foundations for her career-best US Open, where she built a 13-match winning streak in reaching the fourth round.

With a third 2022 title at Tokyo in September, where victims included Grand Slam champions Elena Rybakina and Garbine Muguruza, the Russian-born, Italian-based Samsonova also secured her top-20 debut. 

Sebastian Korda

Record since US Open: 14-5

Consistency is becoming a hallmark for Sebastian Korda, who reached finals at Gijon and Antwerp in the post-US Open swing. The impressive period included wins over Karen Khachanov and Dominic Thiem.

The 22-year-old American has already made his presence felt in the new season, eliminating Andy Murray, Roberto Bautista Agut and Jannik Sinner en route to the semifinals in Adelaide.

There are further signs that Korda could make major moves in Melbourne; Sebi, the son of AO 1998 men’s champion Petr, won the AO boys’ title in 2018.

With an upset of No.12 seed Cameron Norrie in his main draw debut last year, there’s a sense of bigger possibilities at AO 2023. 

Barbora Krejcikova

Record since US Open: 9-1

Barbora Krejcikova's return to best form was arguably the feel-good story of the late 2022 season.

The former world No.2 and Roland Garros 2021 singles champion Barbora Krejcikova missed three months early in the year with an elbow injury.

But those struggles were well and truly behind the Czech as she claimed a fourth singles titles in Tallinn, then upset world No.1 Iga Swiatek to add to that record in Ostrava.

Also a doubles champion at three of the four Grand Slams (with countrywoman Katerina Siniakiova) last season, the 27-year-old arrives is coming in hot on every front.