The 2022 Australian Open will go down as one of the most memorable in recent history and there was plenty to be proud about for Team WSM.
Local favourites Ash Barty, Dylan Alcott, Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios made it a fortnight to remember while Rafael Nadal captured a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title.
The onset of the two weeks of fun and edge-of-your-seat drama coincided with WSM welcoming Storm Sanders, Daria ‘Dasha’ Saville and Luke Saville to our team.
They were joined at Melbourne Park by existing WSM talent Lizette Cabrera, Jaimee Fourlis and Aleks Vukic, as well as Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Groth who continued their media commitments for Nine.
25-year-old Aleks made headlines on day one of the Open when he defeated seeded South African Lloyd Harris in four sets for his first career win at a Grand Slam event.
While his journey came to an event in Round 2 against Moldovan Radu Albot, the University of Illinois alumni’s reward for reaching the second round was a career-high ranking of 140.
Elsewhere, Storm faced a daunting round one clash against Belarussian world number 2 Aryna Sabalenka who had been a semi-finalist at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2021.
Undeterred, the 27-year-old stormed (no pun intended) through the first set before losing in three sets in a performance which showed her ability to compete against the world’s very best.
In the women’s doubles, Storm and her American doubles partner Caroline Dolehide won three matches to reach the quarter-final stage of the draw before bowing out of the competition.
24-year-old Lizette put aside the disappointment of failing to qualify for the Main Draw of the singles tournament, by teaming up with fellow Queenslander Priscilla Hon in the women’s doubles.
The pair defeated 2021 US Open Women’s finalist Leylah Fernandez of Canada and her Kiwi partner Erin Routliffe in straight sets before losing in the second round.
One of the tournament’s feel-good stories was the return of Dasha to the Grand Slam circuit after an injury-plagued last few years which saw her miss the last three Grand Slams.
While she may have lost in the first round of both the women’s singles and mixed doubles (where she partnered with husband Luke), her return to action was a welcome sight and a sign of good things to come.
Seasoned pro Luke might have exited the tournament early, but he kept himself busy afterwards by making several media appearances as he looks to put his expertise to good use.
Arguably the biggest story of the event from a WSM standpoint were the achievements of Jaimee Fourlis in the mixed doubles, reaching her first career Grand Slam Final.
The 22-year-old partnered with fellow Aussie Jason Kubler, as the pair defeated several higher-ranked opponents (including compatriots Matt Ebden and Sam Stosur) en route to the Final.
In the final, Melbourne-born and raised Jaimee fulfilled a lifelong ambition of playing at Rod Laver Arena as her and Kubler went down in straight sets to Ivan Dodig and Kristina Mladenovic.
Up in the stands (and occasionally sitting courtside), Lleyton and Sam provided two weeks of expert analysis and star power to Nine’s impressive commentary team for the tournament.
WSM congratulates all our tennis talent for an outstanding two weeks of action at Australia’s premier sporting event and will continue to support them throughout the course of 2022 and beyond.