Emma Raducanu and Naomi Osaka confirm when they will start their 2022 season

Kevin Palmer
Great Britain's Emma Raducanu plays a shot

All eyes will be on Emma Raducanu and Naomi Osaka after contrasting fortunes in 2021 and the star duo could be on a collision course to meet on court in their opening event of the New Year.

Tennis Australia have pieced together a series of events leading up to the first Grand Slam of the year, with ‘The Melbourne Summer Set’ comprising two WTA 250 events that will give US Open champion Raducanu and Osaka a chance to get into top form.

Raducanu and Naomi Osaka will headline two women’s warm-up tournaments taking place over two weeks at Melbourne Park ahead of the Australian Open from January 3rd-9th.

Four-time Grand Slam champion Osaka, now ranked 13th in the world, will return to action after cutting short her 2021 season after her exit from the US Open in a year when she withdrew from the French Open and didn’t play at Wimbledon, citing mental health issues.

Meanwhile, world No.1 Ashleigh Barty will kick off her campaign at the Adelaide International warm-up tournament, with anticipation growing after a thrilling end to the year on the women’s tour was highlighted by Raducanu’s US Open win.

The 19-year-old Brit insisted earlier this week that she is ready cope with the demands of life as a tennis superstar, after she finished the year at No.19 in the WTA rankings.

“To me the things that matter are the expectations of myself and what I want to achieve and what I want to get out of the day,” she told Sky News.

“It’s just about improving and seeing yourself get better and I don’t take anyone else’s opinions into account except for my close circle.”