The 2023 Australian Open has officially begun this week. The tournament, which is one of the four Grand Slam events, in recent years has been affected by covid-19 and experienced strong restrictions.  

This year, however, all those restrictions have been removed, and it seems that the event is finally moving beyond the COVID era. Here, we look back at the previous five men’s and women’s Australian Open champions and give a rundown of how the tournament has evolved.

 

2022, a Grand Slam without Djokovic 

Rafael Nadal won the men’s singles event at the Australian Open in 2022. It was his 21st major win and second at the Australian Open. With this victory, Nadal moved beyond the previous record of 20 men’s major singles titles held jointly by himself, Novak Djokovic, and Roger Federer. 

Ashleigh Barty triumphed for the first time in women’s singles at the Australian Open, taking home her third overall major championship. She won in straight sets against the 27th-seeded player Danielle Collins. Since Chris O’Neil won the championship in 1978, no other Australian player has been successful in claiming the title until Ashleigh Barty. 

However, it’s important to note that the event was affected by Djokovic’s fight with Australian immigration when he declared he hadn’t had the COVID-19 vaccine. After having his visa twice rejected by the Australian Immigration Minister, he ultimately was unable to take part. 

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IMAGO / Shutterstock / James Gourley | Rafael Nadal celebrates victory in the Men s Singles final in Australian Open in Melbourne Park. Jan 30, 2022, Melbourne, Australia.
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IMAGO / Paul Zimmer | Asleigh Barty celebrates victory in the Women’s Singles final in Australian Open. Jan 29, 2022, Melbourne, Australia.

2021, affected by COVID-19

The 2021 tournament was postponed because of the pandemic. Tennis Australia stated in December 2020 that the start of the Australian Open would be moved back three weeks, from January 18 to February 8, 2021. The reason was a mandated 14-day quarantine on all entries into the country, including the tournament players. Similar circumstances led to the cancellation of junior and legends matches and the relocation of the men’s and women’s qualifying matches to Doha and Dubai, respectively. 

Novak Djokovic successfully defended the men’s singles championship this year and won his 18th Grand Slam title by defeating Daniil Medvedev. 

In The women’s singles championship, Naomi Osaka won her fourth Grand Slam title by beating Jennifer Brady in the final.

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IMAGO / AAP / Dave Hunt | Naomi Osaka of Japan serves during the women s singles final against Jennifer Brady on day 13 of the Australian Open tennis tournament at Rod Laver Arena. February 20, 2021, Melbourne, Australia.
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IMAGO / AAP / James Ross | Novak Djokovic celebrates his win in Men’s singles finals match against Daniil Medvedev. February 21, 2021, Melbourne, Australia.

2020, a New top Star in Women’s Competitions

In 2020, Sofia Kenin was victorious in the Australian Open for the women’s competition. At the time, Kenin was just 21 years old and won her first Grand Slam tournament after beating some of the most significant competitors, including Serena Williams and Simona Halep.

On the other side, Novak Djokovic won his eighth Australian Open title in the men’s tournament. Djokovic’s tournament performance was unrivaled, as he dropped only two sets while winning every match he played. Ultimately, he won the tournament after a three-set victory over Dominic Thiem.

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IMAGO / AAP / Lukas Coch|Novak Djokovic during the men’s singles final against Dominic Thiem in Australian Open tennis tournament. February 2, 2020, Melbourne, Australia.
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Sofia Kenin of the USA poses for photographers with the Daphne Ackhurst Memorial Cup after winning the women s singles final against Garbine Muguruza of Spain on day 13 of the Australian Open tennis tournament. February 1, 2022, Melbourne, Australia.

2019, A Remarkable Game in the Men’s Tennis Competition 

The Japanese star Naomi Osaka won the 2019 Australian Open for women. Osaka, who entered the competition as the top seed, used her outstanding all-court skills to beat Petra Kvitova in the final match in three sets.

Novak Djokovic triumphed at the 2019 Australian Open for men. Djokovic won against Rafael Nadal.  

Djokovic and Nadal were also in the running for the No. 1 singles ranking in the world, but Djokovic was able to hold on to his position by advancing to the fourth round.

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IMAGO / Kyodo News | Naomi Osaka of Japan in the women’s final against Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic. January 26, 2019. Melbourne, Australia.
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IMAGO / Juergen Hasenkopf | Novak Djokovic celebrates his win in Men’s singles finals match. January 27, 2019. Melbourne, Australia.

2018, the Last Win of the Swiss Maestro in Australian Open

In 2018, Caroline Wozniacki won the women’s Australian Open. The number two seed, Wozniacki, won in three sets against the rising star, Simona Halep. Wozniacki’s first Grand Slam champion was highly deserved, as she competed with impressive poise and resolved throughout the competition. 

On the other side, the Swiss Maestro, Roger Federer won his historic twentieth Grand Slam singles championship after defeating Marin Cilic in the final of the Australian Open which was his last one as well.

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IMAGO / Laci Perenyi | Caroline Wozniacki is happy for winning against Builder Simona in the final 2018 of Australia open. January 27, 2018. Melbourne, Australia.
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IMAGO / Laci Perenyi | Roger Federer holds the trophy of the Men’s Australia open 2018. January 28, 2018, Melbourne, Australia.
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IMAGO / Xinhua / Zhu Hongye | Sofia Kenin poses for photographers with the Daphne Ackhurst Memorial Cup after winning the women s singles final against Garbine Muguruza. February 1, 2020, Melbourne, Australia.