Australian Open accused of 'disrespectful' act towards grand slam champ

The Wimbledon champion has been handed a brutal start.

Elena Rybakina (pictured left) receiving the Wimbledon trophy and (pictured right) Rybakina in a press conference.
The Australian Open has caused a stir after placing Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina (pictured) on Court 13 to open her campaign. (Getty Images)

The Australian Open has been accused of showing 'disrespect' towards Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina after she was scheduled to open her campaign on an outside court. Rybakina stunned the tennis world to claim her maiden grand slam title at Wimbledon in 2022.

However, due to the ban on Wimbledon handing out ranking points due to its ban on Russian athletes, the Kazakhstan player didn't climb up the rankings. Rybakina is still ranked World No.25 and has been drawn against Italian Elisabetta Cocciaretto in the first round.

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But the tennis world has questioned why Australian Open officials have scheduled the clash to be held on Court 13. This prompted top tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg to ask if a grand slam champion had ever been 'relegated' so quickly.

"Reigning Wimbledon champ Elena Rybakina got relegated all the way out to the hinterland of Court 13 for her first #AusOpen match," he wrote. "I understand there is a saturation of recent women's Slam champions, to an extent, but has a reigning Wimbledon champ ever been so quickly disregarded?"

The question sparked a flurry of responses with many slamming Australian Open officials for the scheduling controversy. Jose Morgado pointed out that the Wimbledon rankings ban has still impacted her chances at grand slams.

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This isn't the only match that raised eyebrows. Grand slam champion Dominic Thiem is making his return to the Australian Open.

However, the popular Austrian will play against Andrey Rublev in the first round at 11am on John Cain Arena. The match is an enticing first round clash and Australian Open officials once again came under scrutiny for the scheduling.

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Australian Open battles top withdrawals

Another drama at the Australian Open was Aussie Ajla Tomljanovic withdrawing from the grand slam. The highest-ranked Aussie said she would not take part in the Australian Open after she failed to overcome an injury.

Tomljanovic's absence also marks the first time there are no Australian non-wild card entrants in the women's draw for the Melbourne tournament.

This adds to a list of big names that are unable to attend.

Only hours after Tomljanovic announced her withdrawal, World No.16 Paula Badosa was also forced out due to injury.

"Sad to miss Australian Open this year, really going to miss it," she wrote.

Naomi Osaka announced she was pregnant with her first child, which prompted her withdrawal from the tournament.

British superstar Emma Raducanu was in a race to be fit after picking up an injury in the lead-up tournament. However, the young star has since overcome the injury and will feature in the first round. On the men's side, World No.1 Carlos Alcaraz withdrew due to injury.

with AAP

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