First round opponent: Sofia Kenin (USA, world ranking 280)
This match-up is scarcely believable due to the fact that they are the only two players in the draw to have previously lifted the trophy.
Azarenka won back-to-back Australian Open titles a decade ago (2012 and 2013), while Kenin’s career has gone off the rails since her unlikely triumph in 2020. The American came from the clouds to win her first and only grand slam that year, upsetting Australia’s world No.1 Ash Barty in the semi-final, before denying a former world No.1, Spaniard Garbine Muguruza in the final after dropping the first set.
Reacting to the Azarenka-Kenin match-up, highly regarded tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg tweeted: “There are only two former #AusOpen champs active in women’s tennis right now, and they got drawn against each other in the first round.
“Kenin-Azarenka. Wild draw.”