Naomi Osaka adds star power to uncertain Australian Open build-up | Courtney Walsh

The first grand slam of 2022 will lack star names and take place against a backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemicAn email from Tennis Australia, offering television networks footage of defending champion Naomi Osaka’s arrival in Melbourne, arrived midway through Tuesday. Even for a country renowned for celebrating the arrival of any international celebrity with a chorus of publicity, the sight of the Japanese superstar on the tarmac was a welcome relief.The recent Covid-19 spike has added insult and uncertainty to the injuries that have already ruled legends Serena Williams and Roger Federer out of the Australian Open. If this year’s grand slam was unprecedented, next month’s edition is shaping as another tournament of great apprehension given the pandemic is heating up yet again. Continue reading...