The ATP field in Sydney has just one Top 20 player, that being Australian Open semifinalist Aslan Karatsev.
But the showdown of the week on either tour will take place with Australian Nick Kyrgios making his return to take on fellow looney toon Fabio Fognini.
The 26-year-old Kyrgios lost his last five tournament matches of 2021 with the US Open defeat to Roberto Bautista Agut and Laver Cup loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas his most recent matches.
Kyrgios, ranked down at No. 93, made the fourth round at the Australian Open last year and won his lone meeting with Fognini at 2018 Miami. He was too ill to start last week.
“With everything floating around these days, I thought it was COVID, I was feeling pretty average,” Kyrgios said. “I was bedridden and I’d hit for half an hour and I was out of breath. I felt lethargic, I felt sleepy.”
Feeling better, he’s ready to do damage.
“Honestly, if I’m ranked 1000 or 10 in the world I know what I’m capable of and everyone knows what I’m capable of on Tour,” he said.
“I’m not a player that hasn’t proven themselves. I talk a lot but I also have beaten a lot of players and I’ve won a lot of tournaments so that’s not something I’m focusing on.”
Andy Murray also returns and if he wins his opener, would face No. 2 seed Nikolaz Basilashvili.
The 34-year-old Murray who 5-times finished runner-up at the Australian Open, fell in his 2022 opener last week to Facundo Bagnis.
In Adelaide, week 1 winner Gael Monfils will be back along with new face John Isner who makes his 2022 debut.
Monfils could meet Karen Khachanov in the semifinals in a rematch of their week 1 final. Isner could collide with Marin Cilic in his semifinal.
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