By E.J. Crawford
The Australian Open is set to kick off on Monday and will include a host of former US Open Series champions. Here’s a closer look at the past Series winners competing in Melbourne and their history at and outlook for the first Grand Slam of 2017:
Novak Djokovic: The 2012 Series champion is a six-time Australian Open titlist, having won five of the last six championships in Melbourne. He is coming off a title in Doha that featured a three-set win over two-time Series champion Andy Murray in the final.
Roger Federer: The 2007 Series winner makes his Grand Slam return after sitting out the last half of 2016 with an injured knee. He is a four-time Australian Open champion who has reached the semis or better a stunning 12 of the last 13 years.
Andy Murray: The five-time Australian Open runner-up is still looking for his first title in Melbourne. Four of those title-match losses have come against Djokovic, including in 2015 and 2016. This will be Murray’s first Slam as the No. 1 player in the world.
Kei Nishikori: The reigning Series champion has reached the quarterfinals in each of his last two trips to Melbourne and has not lost before the round of 16 since 2011. He started his 2017 season well, defeating Stan Wawrinka en route to the final in Brisbane.
Rafael Nadal: Oft-injured of late, the two-time Series winner will be looking to add a second Melbourne title to the crown he won in 2009. He played well in a three-set quarterfinal loss to Milos Raonic at the AO tune-up in Brisbane.
Sam Querrey: The 2009 Series champion posted his best-ever Grand Slam showing at Wimbledon in 2016 (quarterfinals) but has struggled since, dropping his last six singles matches. He has reached the third round at the Australian Open four times (2007-08, 13-14).
Milos Raonic: The 2014 Series winner and current world No. 3 reached the semifinals in Melbourne a year ago and the quarterfinals the year prior. He posted a win over Nadal en route to the semifinals at the AO tune-up event in Brisbane.
Karolina Pliskova: The 2015 Series champion and 2016 US Open finalist won the Australian Open tune-up in Brisbane to kick off her 2017. She has fallen in the third round in Melbourne Park each of the last two years.
Agnieszka Radwanska: The defending Series champion has reached the quarterfinals or better at the Australian Open on six occasions, including the semis in 2014 and 2016. She is into the final at the AO tune-up in Sydney.
Serena Williams: The only three-time Series champion is a six-time AO winner – a seventh Aussie crown would make her the all-time Grand Slam champion of the Open era. She has reached the final at Melbourne Park the last two years, taking the title in 2015.
Caroline Wozniacki: The 2010 Series titlist reached the Australian Open semifinals in 2011 and the quarters in 2012 but hasn’t advanced past the fourth round since. She reached the quarterfinals in Auckland and Sydney to start the year.