Raducanu to fight demons and Djokovic eyes GOAT status | Tennis predictions 2023

With the Australian Open around the corner, all eyes have turned to the new tennis season – but what can we expect from the sport in 2023?

Great British star Emma Raducanu aims to put a miserable 2022 season behind her and Novak Djokovic is looking to finally cement himself ahead of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) in the men’s game.

Nick Kyrgios is attempting to register his maiden Grand Slam trophy in 2023 after finishing as a runner-up at Wimbledon in July while British No.1 Cameron Norrie is bidding to reach his first major final and Andy Murray could possibly retire.

Metro.co.uk takes a look at the main storylines ahead of what promises to be an intriguing year in tennis…

British star Raducanu to fight her demons

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Emma Raducanu was tipped for a massive 2022 after her fairytale triumph at the US Open a year previously, but it did not go to plan at any of the majors or indeed anywhere else on the WTA Tour in what was a horrific season for the Brit.

The 20-year-old failed to win a single event and did not reach the third round at any of the four Grand Slams after massive struggles with fitness and form, slipping from world No.10 to world No.78.

She appears to have finally settled on a new coach – bringing in German Sebastian Sachs on a trial basis – and was recently working with a trainer to reduce her injury problems. Raducanu has already set out some aims for 2023 and is targeting a WTA Tour title to add to her Flushing Meadows trophy.

We have seen the level she is capable of playing at in 2022 – such as her impressive 6-4 6-0 victory over the great Serena Williams in Cincinnati – and she will surely shake off her internal demons in 2023 and climb back up the rankings.

Djokovic to topple Federer, Nadal as men’s GOAT

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It could be an absolutely massive year for Novak Djokovic. The Serbian won Wimbledon for the fourth year in a row in 2022 – his seventh title at the Championships in total – to take his Grand Slam singles trophy count to 21.

He is already ahead of Roger Federer’s 20 and has moved one behind Rafael Nadal’s 22 as he bids to end the GOAT debate once and for all in 2023. With Federer now retired and questions marks over Nadal’s fitness, he may do just that.

Djokovic did not compete at last year’s Australian Open or US Open due to his anti-vaccination stance but is expected to compete at both majors this time around and can easily win multiple Grand Slams, as he has done in the past.

You would expect him to pick up at least one major title in 2023 but will it be enough to cement him at the GOAT? You will always get romantics who will pick Federer or Nadal, but it’s getting harder and harder to justify snubbing Djokovic.

Kyrgios to lift his maiden Grand Slam singles trophy

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Nick Kyrgios is always absolute box office but it will be fascinating to see how he performs in 2023 after enjoying his most successful season in tennis this year.

Kyrgios – famous for his behaviour both on and off the court – reached his first major final in 2022 at Wimbledon and was unlucky to crash out of the US Open in the last eight after a narrow five-set defeat to Russian Karen Khachanov.

Will the world No.22 go one step further in 2023 and lift his first major trophy in singles? If he’s going to do it anywhere, our money is on the Australian Open – his home tournament – which he has already won in doubles with Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Kyrgios may feel he has a point to prove there too, having been snubbed for the 2022 Newcombe Medal – the highest individual honour in Australian tennis – with the 27-year-old hothead accusing Tennis Australia of having ‘no respect’ for him.

Even Rafael Nadal has backed Kyrgios to lift a Slam in 2023 as he told reporters this week: ‘He can win in any tournament that he’s playing. He has all the talent, the weapons to win against any player. Of course he can.’

Murray to retire and Norrie to reach first major final

It will be a sad day when Great British hero and former world No.1 Andy Murray decides to call time on his career, but don’t be surprised to see it happen in 2023. The three-time Grand Slam champion has already dropped several hints that his time in tennis is coming to an end, despite his resurgence from injury this year.

Murray endured a mixed 2022, reaching two ATP Tour finals and climbing back inside the world top 50, but struggled at the majors and his form really dipped off in the second half in the year as he admitted he was not working hard enough. The 35-year-old now plays with a metal hip but refused to use that as an excuse.

Elsewhere, British No.1 Cameron Norrie – who worked his way into the top 10 this year before dropping to world No.14 – is bidding to reach his first major final after enjoying a run to the last four at Wimbledon. We’re backing the left-hander to do that but he must first show that he can consistently beat the very best players.

Norrie suffered defeats to several top 10 stars in 2022 including Casper Ruud and Felix Auger-Aliassime – but did topple world No.4 Stefanos Tsitsipas and won titles at both the Delray Beach Open and the Lyon Open, with the latter becoming his first triumph on clay. A solid year for Norrie, but expect him to get even better.

Never write off Nadal but end must be approaching

You can never write off Rafael Nadal in the same way you can never write off Cristiano Ronaldo. Not many would have expected the 36-year-old to lift back-to-back Grand Slam titles in 2022 but he somehow continues to defy the years.

Nadal’s ability has never been questioned but it is somewhat of an unknown as to how long he can keep going at the top level. He needed injections and rest periods at various points this year and won the French Open with no feeling in his left foot. At Wimbledon, he was forced to withdraw with an abdominal injury.

So, what can we expect from Nadal in 2023? Probably not a lot, unless it’s on the slower clay courts where he excels. With the birth of his first child this year, he will likely be spending less time on Tour than in previous seasons – and after watching his old rival Roger Federer retire in September – he may now decide to follow suit.

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