The window of preparation time for players leading up to the year’s first Grand Slam tournament, the Australian Open, is oh-so short. Getting their legs under them and becoming acclimated to the summerlike conditions after an even-oh-so-shorter offseason is a tough task—prompting some of them to “double up” at the warm-up events.

Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Hubert Hurkacz, Felix Auger-Aliassime and more are getting the opportunity for extra on-court work at the ATP Cup, the team tournament that necessitates such a commitment for some participants. At the regular tour stops this week, too, some of the biggest names in the sport are trying to make an impact on two draws as they get ready for the year’s first major. Here’s a look at several of them.


Ashleigh Barty

The WTA’s top-ranked singles player cut her 2020 campaign short after a surprising third-round defeat at the US Open. Aside from headlining the singles draw in Adelaide this week in her return to action, the Australian is playing in doubles with her countrywoman, Storm Sanders. Though she hasn’t competed in doubles much the past two years, Barty is a recent Grand Slam titlist in that discipline. That experience showed as the Aussie pair punched a big hole in the draw by topping Coco Gauff and Caty McNally, the fourth seeds, in the opening round.

Rafael Nadal

Before this week, it had been nearly two years since the Spaniard had even played a doubles match. Seemingly not missing a beat in his first official tournament action in months, Nadal partnered his countryman Jaume Munar to a straight-sets win in their opening-round match at the tournament in Melbourne. They next face Franko Skugor and Andrey Golubev, the fourth-seeded doubles specialists. With three Masters titles and Olympic Gold in that discipline under his belt, however, Nadal will be taking the court with the most impressive resume among the four.


Nadal partnered with countryman Jaume Munar

Nadal partnered with countryman Jaume Munar

Victoria Azarenka and Paula Badosa

The two players appear to have become inextricably linked over the past several months. Last year, they battled in arguably 2021’s best match in the Indian Wells singles final, and were reunited in Adelaide this week, where Azarenka turned the tables on Badosa in the opening round. Obviously quite familiar with each other’s games at this point, the Belarussian and Spaniard showed how comfortable they are on-court by producing a major upset in women’s doubles with a win over Ena Shibahara and Shuko Aoyama, the top seeds.


Sofia Kenin

The only woman to reach two Grand Slam singles finals in 2020 had a difficult follow-up campaign last year, struggling physically and mentally before shutting down her season after Wimbledon. Eager to make up for lost time, the American doubled up in Adelaide. While she was able to win her first match in singles, she couldn’t replicate the feat in doubles as she and world No. 12 Nicole Melichar-Martinez dropped their opener.

Frances Tiafoe

Though he didn’t match his career-high singles ranking, the American had arguably his best year in 2021. He posted some impressive wins on the doubles court, too, primarily playing with his countryman, Nicholas Monroe. Tiafoe and the veteran have teamed up this week in Adelaide, and after a solid opening-round win take on the former French Open champions Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo, the top seeds, next.