Is Rafael Nadal the biggest loser of the Australian Open singles draw?

(Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

Top seed and defending champion Rafael Nadal will start his quest for a third Australian Open title against British lefty Jack Draper. Should Rafa advance, he could potentially face either Brandon Nakashima or Mackenzie McDonald in the second round.

Rafa’s projected seeded opponents would be No. 31 seed Yoshihito Nishioka in the third round, No. 16 seed Frances Tiafoe in the fourth round, No. 7 seed Daniil Medvedev in the quarters and No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semis.

Projected quarter-finals:

  • Rafa Nadal vs Daniil Medvedev
  • Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Felix Auger-Aliassime
  • Novak Djokovic v Andrey Rublev
  • Casper Ruud v Taylor Fritz

Rafa’s projected Australian Open path:

  • First round: Jack Draper
  • Second round: Brandon Nakashima / Mackenzie McDonald
  • Third round: [31] Yoshihito Nishioka
  • Fourth round: [17] Frances Tiafoe / [18] Karen Khachanov
  • Quarter-final: [7] Daniil Medvedev / [10] Hurbert Hurkacz
  • Semifinal: [3] Stefanos Tsitsipas / [6] Felix Auger-Aliassime
  • Final: [4] Novak Djokovic / [2] Casper Ruud / [8] Taylor Fritz.

View Singles Draw

Rafa is bidding to clinch a 23rd Grand Slam title of his career and his third in Melbourne.

All the best of luck in the world to you, Rafa! VAMOS!


  1. I believe in Rafa! I know Rafa can win on Monday and keep on winning. Of course, it is a marathon and not a sprint, so one match at a time. Vamos!

    • Thanks for the update.

      No, it’s third on rod laver arena in the Monday day session, and it is at 9:30 pm central standard time in the USA. That means I get to watch Rafa play Sunday night in the USA! Vamos, Rafa!

      I sense that Draper will be more nervous than Rafa. Rafa is draper’s idol after all, according to several tennis articles.

    • I believe Rafa plays Draper on Monday at 14:30 Hours Melbourne Time which is 03:30 Hours GMT and 22:30 Hours (Sunday) New York Time.

  2. I believe in Rafa’s talent and drive! He will win .So excited to watch him play!
    Stay strong and healthy Rafa!!

  3. Draper lost to kwon in the 250 event today in Adelaide in 3 sets. The news of playing Rafa got him nervous, excited, and distracted!

    Why do I say that? Draper crushed Kwon the week before losing only 3 games.

    Also Draper expressed hope that he could do well against Rafa. Not sure he really believes it yet.

    Conclusion: Rafa will win against Draper in round 1 of Australian open, for sure. Draper is still learning and growing as a tennis player and person.

    Vamos, Rafa! 🎾💪🍀❤️☀️🏆🏅

  4. For the first time i don’t see rafa win this slam… Barely if he pass de first round (a very hard first match)… I won’t be surprised if he lost in first round… With the level of his actual tenis imo he fas zero chances of winning this slam… I realy hope he makes me wrong but for the first time i have no expactation… I already think about clay season….

  5. That’s a very tough draw! Goodness. I hope he has his game in shape… He’s been in a terrible slump since Wimbledon…

  6. Draper does not stand a chance against our Rafa. Rafa has too much experience in slams.

    I truly believe Rafa will win and keep on winning!

  7. A tough draw as usual Rafa but we believe in you, one game at a time and you will get there. Wishing you the best of luck as always Rafa, can’t wait to watch you play, Vamos x

  8. I feel good about Rafa’s chances and believe in him. If he did not think he is ready or has a chance, he would not be in Australia. Let the games begin. Vamos, Rafa! We believe in you and look forward to seeing you play!

  9. Seriously, I find it ironic how Rafa’s draw is always sooo much tougher than the other top 3. I’m nervous to watch but also very excited. I pray he stuns the nay-sayers. I’m so tired of people thinking he’s “washed up” at WORLD NUMBER 2?!!! VAMOS, RAFA! Go get ’em!

  10. Regardless of how tough the draw may look, Rafa is there to fight for the win-👏👍💪🤛🍀🎾❤️

    • I do not see it as a “tough draw”. Most of the opponents are opportunist travellers. Take a look at their achievements. How many titles has Draper? Zilch. How many titles has Nakashima, McDonald, Nishioaka or Taifoe ? Zilch. Medvedev and Tsitsipas can be dangerous, but they have to get there first. And it is best of FIVE Not THREE, where opportunists have chances. The Draw is good. Rafa needs to play well a couple of matches. Don’t buy into journalists and commentators rubbish.

  11. Vam vam Rafa, u’ve been in tough draws many years, stay healthy and safe, vam vam, God is in ur side

    • There is a story in the Thursday New York Times by tennis reporter Chris Carey that includes this in the headline: “All Eyes are on Rafael Nadal.” All eyes are on him, but not in a good way.

      Chris Carey notes that Rafa lost an exhibition match Thursday to Hubert Hurkascz and that Rafa was missing first serves and ground strokes. Worse than that he was looking over to Coach Moya a lot and someone else said Rafa had a far away look in his eyes.

      At this point there seems to be a widespread feeling that Rafa won’t make it past Draper.

      Clearly Rafa will have to play better than he has in the last couple of months. I really want to see Rafa prove the doubters wrong once again.

      Vamos Rafa!

  12. It’s definitely a tough draw, but is it new tto Rafa? Absolutely not! He’s been there many times, well tested that is why he is the “GOAT”! The ball is round & every player face the same challenge, so speaking of advantage… i go for my champ. Rafa stay focussed & you’ll get your 23rd🏆🥎 VAMOS!!!👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏

  13. Another tough draw for Rafa, but if he can get through the first three rounds unscathed, then his confidence will take a leap up. After that, he has a good chance of you know what.
    Rooting for you champ. Hang tough!

  14. It looks like a difficult draw but I have full faith in Rafa at the AO this year! 😀💪🍀🏆🏅it’s a gift to see him play!

    What do you think of Craig tiley’s warning to fans of no boo-big or taunting of djokovic, or risk being ejected?

    I don’t like it because it’s similar to censorship of the audience. Fans are allowed to boo everywhere and express their emotions at every tennis court in the world.

  15. Rafa you have a tough draw but you will overcome this. No matter any outcome of any match I will support you. Buena Suetre Rafa and sending you all the Irish Luck . Vamos Rafa always.

  16. It’s a brutal draw for Nadal starting right from a very tricky first match. Draper is a fast improving and red-hot young gun who has bagged victories against some notable top players like Tsitsipas, FAA, Taylor Fritz, Sinner and Thiem. He can serve big exceeding 200 Km/h, but his second serve is very slow and quite vulnerable (even slower than Rafa’s average second serve speed). Draper has the tendency to regularly lose his serve on pressure points. Moreover, if the weather is slightly hotter (depending on what time does Rafa play his match against Draper), he is likely to be more susceptible to heat especially in a best-of-five set match.

    Although Nadal has had an ordinary journey since the US Open 2022, he should still prevail over Draper (possibly with some difficulty) even though Draper is no push-over.

    The beauty of a seemingly brutal draw is that it suddenly opens up with 2-3 big upsets in the initial rounds. So, let’s see how Rafa would eventually fare in his seemingly brutal draw.

    In the other half of the draw, lady luck is surely smiling on Djokovic with a far easier draw.

  17. Rafa we are all with you on the journey to GS no. 23 in 2023. You are our Champion and we will support you in everything you do. Buena Suerte Rafa and all the Irish Luck I can send you. ☘☘☘☘☘☘☘☘☘☘☘☘☘☘☘☘☘☘☘☘☘☘☘☘

  18. I hope you will catch back up with everything soon? I understood something different
    butt anyways I hope you win as much games as possible.


    Magalie S. Burke

    • Draper plays in the Adelaide semi on Friday. If he wins does he play the final on Saturday or Sunday? And then Rafa on Monday? Maybe Draper should hope he loses on Frdiay.

      • Should Draper reach the final in Adelaide-2, he would play on Saturday. Then, he is likely to play Rafa on Monday. For a 21-year old young player, it would not matter much if he is not rested well enough before his match against Rafa on Monday. The time schedule for the first day at AO has not been announced. Draper would struggle more if the match is scheduled in the afternoon and if the weather is hot and humid on that day.

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