Worsley at Aussie Open 2020: Newcomers show potential for greater things at Melbourne

OPINION: The first week of the Aussie Open 2020 has been and gone, and while the men's quarter-final line-ups look same-same, the women's draw is somewhat more fresh-faced.

Here are a few names to watch out for throughout the rest of the year. Not all of them made massive impacts in Melbourne this time round, but expect something big over the next 10 months.


Iga Swiatek (Poland)

The 18-year-old reached the Australian Open fourth round, where she fell to 28th seed Anett Kontaveit in three tough sets.

A fourth-round finish at last year's French Open hinted at promise that had already been foreshadowed as a junior, where she won Wimbledon singles, and reached the Aussie Open final and semis at the other two junior Slams.

The potential is there and, barring injury, it will be seen this year.

Elena Rybakina (Kazakhstan)

The tall Moscow-born Kazak is starting to hit her professional straps and has won two WTA titles already by the age 20.

She's taken her time to get the results in Grand Slams, but making the third round at Melbourne, before losing to top seed Ash Barty, is significant progress.

Elena Rybakina in action at the Australian Open
Elena Rybakina in action at the Australian Open. Photo credit: Reuters.

The former No.3 junior hasn't travelled with a proper coach for very long and remains relatively anonymous among her peers, despite now being a top-30 player.

Watch for her raw talent to emerge, as she quickly climbs into the top 20 within the next three months, now that her career has become organised and professional.

Others to keep an eye on:

Ons Jabuer (Tunisia) - her unorthodox hitting has helped her become the first Middle Eastern woman into a Grand Slam quarter-final.

Alison Riske (USA) - really awkward shotmaker at times and does very well on the faster services too. Watch for her at Wimbledon.


Tommy Paul (USA)

The 22-year-old has finally started to fulfil his promise under coach Brad Stine, who was with former Australian Open champ Jim Courier for a while.

He won't necessarily win a Grand Slam yet, but he's going to ask questions of the big names and gain some notable wins too. Currently ranked about 80, he'll improve 20-30 places, after his win over Grigor Dimitrov in Melbourne.

Elliot Benchetrit (France)

Okay, so we're only interested in this guy after 'Banana-Gate', when he asked a ball-person to peel a banana for him in qualifying. The 21-year-old is ranked about 200 and will improve, after making the Australian Open main draw.

Elliott Benchetrit in action at the Australian Open.
Elliott Benchetrit in action at the Australian Open. Photo credit: Reuters.

With his height, he's not a bad talent, but he has a French tennis player's temperament, which means anything - or nothing - could happen at any time.

Others to keep an eye on:

Ugo Humbert (France) - the ASB Classic winner had a tough first round draw in Melbourne, but he’ll excel on clay in a few months... watch him challenge the top 20.

John Millman (Australia) - at 30, maybe a bit old for this list, but everyone loves the guy next door who's a good bloke. In fact, there's a raft of Aussies, who are hard workers and may never win Slams, but give it their all.

And where would this list be without Nick Kyrgios?

You know you love him and he's done well at Melbourne… so far. What does 2020 have in store for him and his fans?

Nick Kyrgios in action at the Australian Open
Nick Kyrgios in action at the Australian Open. Photo credit: Reuters.

He's got the talent and may just be showing the mental focus he needs to reach the last eight - and beyond - of a Grand Slam.

American 'Coco' Gauff and Italian Jannik Sinner have been left off this list, as they're already relatively well known. If they keep improving, they'll both be top 20 by the end of the year, although Sinner may longer, due to the depth in the men’s game.

Dave Worsley is a Newshub sports reporter, covering his 22nd Australian Open