The 26-year-old decided to hang up her racket earlier in 2022, citing fatigue and the strain of spending long periods away from home as the catalysts for her decision.
By definition, the three-time major champion was one of the best hopes for our patriotic tennis in Grand Slam events, but the good news is that there are still some Aussies that are active in the sport who could win a big televised tournament this year.
Alex de Minaur
One of the perks of Alex de Minaur’s game is that he can perform on all surfaces.
At 80/1 in the French Open betting odds, the 23-year-old isn’t fancied for glory at Roland Garros. But he took tennis’ new golden boy Carlos Alcaraz to the wire on the clay at ATP Barcelona recently – winning the first set and narrowly losing the second in a tiebreak.
De Minaur has appeared in nine ATP Tour finals, and all of those have come on the slicker surfaces. He won on the hard courts of Turkey to triumph in the Antalya Open last year, and a few months later he was prevailing again – this time on the grass of Eastbourne.
A former Junior Wimbledon finalist, it may be that the world number 22 is most likely to succeed at SW19, but don’t rule out De Minaur from winning any of the three remaining majors in 2022.
What a confidence boost it must have been for Ajla Tomljanovic to reach the quarter-finals of Wimbledon, where she beat local favourite Emma Raducanu before going down to, of all people, Barty in the last eight.
That helped push the 28-year-old into the top 50 of the WTA rankings, and while she may not have kicked on from there, it still takes a classy operator to beat Tomljanovic.
At the Australian Open in January, she was defeated by world number two Paula Badosa. Back in 2021, her Grand Slam losses came at the hands of former world number one Karolina Pliskova, Barty, French Open finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and two-time major champion Simona Halep.
So, what Tomljanovic needs is a bit of luck in her draw – if she gets that, she’s definitely got the game to take advantage.
If Nick Kyrgios retires from tennis with just two major quarter-finals to his name, it will be bordering on a criminal offence given the supreme natural ability that the guy has.
But talent only takes you so far in professional sport – you also need hard work, determination and a settled off-court lifestyle… not necessarily attributes Kyrgios has in abundance, by all accounts.
And yet he’s still one of the best servers on the ATP Tour, and the power of his groundstrokes – and delicate touch around the net – suggests he really ought to be a contender at Wimbledon at the very least.
Perhaps the doubles draw offers his – and Australia’s – best hope for a grand Slam victory in 2022. He and countryman Thanasi Kokkinakis teamed up to win the men’s doubles at the Australian Open, and maybe Krygios needs the extra focus of a partner relying on him to elevate his game to the elite level he is capable of.
So, watch out for him, and De Minaur and Tomljanovic, in the tennis majors on TV this year.