Bianca Andreescu pumps her fist and grits her teeth.

Photo : Martin Sidorjak

It’s time. The Australian Open has arrived.

Here’s hoping you don’t value your sleep too much as the first Grand Slam of the season is underway in Melbourne with a large group of Canadians looking to make their mark.

Put that pot of coffee on, here’s what you need to know:

What to Watch: Melbourne Time

The main draw at the 2023 Australian Open features one of the largest Canadian contingents at a Grand Slam even in recent memory with seven competing in the main singles draws.

That number has already dwindled to five after two were eliminated on a day one that featured more than half the Canadians playing, including two facing each other.

Bianca Andreescu, Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime all advanced to round two with wins on Monday, although Auger-Aliassime did so at the expense of Vasek Pospisil. Rebecca Marino was also eliminated.

In her first-round match, Andreescu caused a minor upset but will need to make some real waves if she hopes to go deep in Melbourne. A potential round three clash with world No. 1 Iga Świątek looms should the Canadian defeat qualifier Cristina Busca in the second round.

Shapovalov will meet Taro Daniel in the second round and before facing a potential gauntlet of tenth seed Hubert Hurkacz, No. 7 Daniil Medvedev and No. 1 Rafael Nadal in his next three rounds.

As for Auger-Aliassime, the sixth seed, he meets Alex Molcan in round two. He could meet No. 28 seed Francisco Cerundolo in the third round. He is in the same section as No. 11 Cameron Norrie and same quarter as No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Men’s title-favourite Novak Djokovic is in the third quarter of the draw, on the opposite half from the two Canadians and top seed Nadal. He could meet No. 2 seed Casper Ruud in the semis. The draw was also rocked on Monday by the last-minute withdrawal of Wimbledon runner-up Nick Kyrgios.

The other two Canadian women in the main draw, Leylah Annie Fernandez and Katherine Sebov, both kick off their campaigns on Tuesday in Australia (Monday night in Canada) against a pair of Frenchwomen, Alize Cornet for Fernandez and No. 4 seed Caroline Garcia on Rod Laver Arena for Sebov, who is making her Grand Slam main draw debut.

With wins, Fernandez and Sebov would meet in round two.

Despite the bad early rounds, the two Canadian women in the bottom half of the draw find themselves with a slightly easier road should they survive their French opponents (and each other) as the bottom half of the draw is not as loaded as the top, which includes Swiatek, Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff. In the bottom half they have to contend with Garcia, Aryna Sabalenka and world No. 2 Ons Jabeur.

Three Canadian women are competing in the doubles.

Gabriela Dabrowski leads the way as she is seeded third alongside partner Giuliana Olmos. She could meet Marino and partner Madison Brengle in the second round.

Fernandez is also playing doubles, continuing her partnership with Bethanie Mattek-Sands. They reached the final in Auckland in week one of the season and will play seventh seeds Beatriz Haddad Maia and Shuai Zhang in the first round.

In Case You Missed It: The Luckiest of Losers

From a Canadian perspective, it was a quiet final week before the Australian Open.

Only Rebecca Marino was playing in a singles main draw and she lost her opening match in Hobart to Anhelina Kalinina.

Gabriela Dabrowski was the second seed in the doubles in Adelaide, but she and Giuliana Olmos lost in their opening match.

It was a bad week for the favourites at the ATP events, with Top 10 players Andrey Rublev and Casper Ruud, both the top seeds at their respective events in Adelaide and Auckland, each failing to get a win.

The only top two seed to win a match last week was Cameron Norrie, the second seed in Auckland, who reached the final before being upset by the 36-year-old Richard Gasquet, whose 16th career title comes almost 18 years after his first.

Soonwoo Kwon became the first Lucky Loser to win a title in 2023, taking advantage of a withdrawal to win the title, defeating second seed Pablo Carreno Busta in the second round and fourth seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the final.

There was a bit of controversy at the WTA 500 event in Adelaide, when neither semifinal was played due to walkovers. Both Veronika Kudermetova and Paula Badosa withdrew prior to their matches with Belinda Bencic and Daria Kasatkina, who got free passes to the final where Bencic cruised past Kasatkina with the loss of just two games.

*(Year-to-date titles/career titles)

Under the Radar:

While her big sister was gearing up for the Australian Open, Bianca Jolie Fernandez reached her third career ITF doubles final, reaching the title match at the W15 event in Martinique alongside American Anna Ulyashchenko.

They lost to the top seeds Jenny Duerst and Fanny Ostlund in the final in a match tiebreak.

While Canada’s biggest stars are competing this week in Melbourne, there are a handful scattered around ATP Challenger and ITF events.

You can follow the Canadians in action every week here.