If the Croatians, who won nine tour-level titles together last year, defeat Argentines Facundo Bagnis and Federico Delbonis in the first round, they could face Australians Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios in the second round. Longtime friends Kokkinakis and Kyrgios open against countrymen Alex Bolt and James McCabe,
“Playing with him is always an experience. I don’t think we’re the most traditional doubles pairing you’ll see. We have fun out there. We like to get the crowd going,” Kokkinakis said. “Singles is so intense and so serious. The media hypes it. It’s massive for us as well, we want to do well. Being on court with each other, we can kind of relax a little bit, kind of feed off each other. It gives us a good sort of bond.”
This will be Kokkinakis and Kyrgios’ fourth time competing in the Australian Open as a team. Kokkinakis lifted his first ATP Tour trophy on Saturday in Adelaide.
Joe Salisbury, Rajeev Ram” />
Photo Credit: Morgan Hancock/Getty Images
One of the leading tournament favourites will be second seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury (above). The 2020 champions also reached the final Down Under last year. Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek defeated them in the championship match.
Polasek and Australian John Peers became a full-time team in the middle of last year. They developed into one of the world’s best pairs by the end of the season, winning the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. They are the fifth seeds in Melbourne.
“To kick off in Australia with an Aussie guy, it’s almost like a dream come true to have the Aussie fans on our side. I really hope for and am looking forward to a great run there,” Polasek said. “Usually all the best teams in the offseason work hard and they always come up with something new. It’s going to be really interesting and I think the field is very strong.”
Other teams to watch include third seeds Marcel Granollers/Horacio Zeballos, fourth seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah and 2016 champions Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares. One new pair to keep your eyes on is Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski. The Dutch-Briton duo got off to a perfect start in 2022 by claiming titles in Melbourne and Adelaide. The 10th seeds will begin their Australian Open against Monaco’s Romain Arneodo and Frenchman Benoit Paire.