Find out dates to circle off on your sport calendar for 2023 (Picture: Supplied/Metro.co.uk)
What a year it’s been.
From the Lionesses winning Euro 2022 after beating Germany in extra time to England dominating Pakistan, it could be said we’ve been spoilt rotten.
Metro looks forward to the major events that are poised to dominate the headlines in 2023.
Australian Open, January 16-29
The first tennis major of the year will do well to match last year’s feelgood factor of homegrown hero Ashleigh Barty winning the women’s singles. The 25-year-old’s decision to retire two months later has seen Iga Swiatek become the dominant force in the women’s game and she will be favourite to triumph at Melbourne Park. In the men’s singles Novak Djokovic, denied entry to Australia for the 2022 event because he has not had a Covid jab, will attempt to join last year’s winner Rafael Nadal on a record 22 major titles after the federal government overturned his visa ban.
Poland’s Iga Swiatek will be the one to watch at Melbourne Park (Picture: Getty)
Six Nations, men: February 4-March 18, women: March 25-April 29
It’ll be exciting to see what new England head coach Steve Borthwick will bring (Picture: PA)
France, having claimed their first Grand Slam for 12 years, Triple Crown winners Ireland and Scotland, with back-to-back Calcutta Cup successes, will aim to start World Cup year with more silverware. It is a new era for England’s men after a miserable autumn spelt the end for Eddie Jones and an old new era with Warren Gatland having replaced Wayne Pivac in Wales, against whom Italy ended a 36-game losing streak. England women’s Grand Slam triumph in 2022 was part of a 30-game unbeaten run that took them all the way to a World Cup final before their heartbreaking 34-31 defeat to New Zealand.
Super Bowl, February 12
Rihanna will be providing half-time entertainment at Super Bowl LVII (Picture: Rex)
We may be some way off knowing who will contest Super Bowl LVII but the fact Rihanna is the half-time entertainment may well push up the estimated 120million people who watched the show in 2022. None are more committed than the viewers on this side of the Atlantic with the 11.30pm kick-off time but they could be rewarded as the previous two Super Bowls in Glendale, Arizona, resulted in classic wins for the New York Giants in 2008 and the New England Patriots in 2015.
Cheltenham Festival, March 14-17
Galopin Des Champs is solid favourite for 2023’s Cheltenham Gold Cup (Picture: PA)
The 2022 Festival climaxed with Rachael Blackmore writing herself into the history books as the first female winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup on board A Plus Tard in the jump racing event of the year. However, Blackmore pulled the horse up in the defence of his Betfair Chase crown at Haydock last month with trainer Henry de Bromhead admitting ‘he had a couple of issues we are working on’. Willie Mullins’ Galopin Des Champs is now the bookies’ favourite.
The boat races, March 26
Cambridge celebrate at the finish of the The 167th Men’s Oxford v Cambridge Gemini Boat Race 2022 (Picture: Rex)
What some cynics may view as a little local rivalry between two privileged universities on the River Thames is actually an international and rather unique sporting event in the sense that oarspeople who learned to row at their college often did so alongside Olympians. Seven nations were represented in the 2022 men’s race that saw Oxford break Cambridge’s five-year winning cycle, while Cambridge have won the women’s event five times in a row.
Grand National, April 15
Racegoers react at Aintree during the Grand National in Aintree (Picture: Rex)
Is it harder to pick a winner for any sporting event than over the gruelling Aintree fences? Noble Yeats may be a contender again having been the 50/1 winner in Sam Waley-Cohen’s last race before retirement. He was also another winner that gave lie to the common assumption that horses carrying more than 11 stone never triumph – the sixth Grand National winner since 2009 carrying that weight or more.
World Snooker Championship, April 15-May 1
Will Ronnie O’Sullivan be able to hold on to his championship status? (Picture: PA)
For longevity at the top of sport it is difficult to surpass reigning champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, who won the first of his seven world titles in 2001. He is already the oldest ever champion and if he can make it three titles from the past four at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, the Rocket will pass the record seven victories for the modern era he shares with Stephen Hendry.
Champions League Final, June 10
A fresh-faced Steven Gerrard receives the Champion Club’s Cup from Uefa President Lennart Johansson back in 2005 (Picture: Rex)
The last time European football’s showpiece final was played in Istanbul it saw Liverpool’s comeback from 3-0 down to beat AC Milan on penalties in 2005. The Turkish city had originally been due to host the 2021 final before that was switched to Porto in the midst of the Covid pandemic. With all four English representatives – Manchester City, Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool – through to the last 16 let’s hope there is no repeat of the chaotic scenes that greeted Liverpool fans in Paris ahead of last term’s final defeat to Real Madrid.
The Ashes, June 16–31
Ben Stokes and the rest of the England team will hopefully continue with their current form (Picture: Getty)
For all the short formats that have been introduced there is nothing in cricket that quite captures the imagination like England versus Australia in the most traditional of formats. There has been nothing traditional, however, about the bombastic way in which England have approached Tests since Ben Stokes became captain which should bring a new dimension to hostilities. The last series on these shores is best remembered for Stokes’ incredible match-winning innings at Headingley but the series was drawn 2-2, as Australia retained the urn.
Wimbledon Championships, July 3-16
If Emma Raducanu remains free from injury, 2023 could be her year (Picture: Getty)
Emma Raducanu will hope she can recover from the string of injuries that blighted her 2022. At 20, time is on the 2021 US Open champion’s side in a women’s singles in which the last five winners have been first-time champions. In contrast, there has been no men’s winner outside Djokovic, Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray since 2002. While Djokovic targets a fifth title in a row, last year he was taken to four sets by Londoner Jack Draper who, at 21, feels as likely to lead home hopes in 2023 as the injury-stricken Murray.
Tour de France, men: July 1-23, women: July 23-30
Annemiek van Vleuten looks to retain her title (Picture: Getty)
The 2023 Tour will hold its Grand Depart in the Basque Country with a first stage in Bilbao. Jonas Vingegaard finished with the yellow jersey in Paris last year ahead of Tadej Pogacar, winner of the previous two editions, and another former champion Geraint Thomas. Tom Pidcock will also look to impress with the finish of the men’s race in the French capital coinciding with the start of the second women’s race in Clermont-Ferrand. Annemiek van Vleuten will defend her title over seven stages before the climax of an individual time-trial in Pau.
British Grand Prix, July 9
Will Lewis Hamilton secur another victory on home soil? (Picture: Rex)
The Formula One circus seems to get bigger every year and huge crowds will once again be fanatical at Silverstone where Lewis Hamilton has enjoyed a record eight victories on home soil. The Mercedes driver was unable to rack up a single win in 2022, for the first time in his illustrious career, while Max Verstappen swept all before him. However, Verstappen is still to take the chequered flag in Northamptonshire, with Carlos Sainz Jr the latest victor.
Women’s Football World Cup, July 20 -August 20
Ellen White holds the trophy and celebrates England’s victory against Germany in the women’s Euro 2022 final (Picture: Rex)
It may have ended in quarter-final disappointment for the men in Qatar but at the Women’s World Cup England’s Lionesses have the chance to bring football home for a second successful summer after Chloe Kelly’s strike secured European Championships glory over Germany. Sarina Wiegman’s side, captained by Leah Williamson, head for Australia and New Zealand as second favourites with the bookmakers but the mighty United States have won four of the eight global tournaments so far, including the last two.
Open Golf Championships, mens: July 20-30, women’s: August 10-13
Rory McIlroy will be hoping to achieve a better result come July (Picture: Getty)
Just a couple of weeks after lifting the Claret Jug, Australian Cameron Smith rather soiled memories of a wonderful victory at the 150th Open by joining the Saudi-backed LIV set-up. The scars are unlikely to have healed by the start of the 151st at Royal Liverpool Golf Club but that should not detract from the golf. Rory McIlroy’s third place was just another of his near-misses that sees the world No.1 remarkably entering a ninth year in his search for a fifth major. This comes just before the women’s equivalent is held at Walton Heath in Surrey for the first time, with South African Ashleigh Buhai defending her title.
Cycling World Championships, August 3-13
Katie Archibald will, once again, represent the UK (Picture: PA)
It is being lauded as the biggest cycling event ever, with Glasgow hosting 11 days of action in the inaugural multi-discipline extravaganza, to be held the year before the Olympics from now on. The event brings together 13 world championships – covering road, mountain bike, track cycling, BMX and para-cycling championships – and will feature 8,000 cyclists representing 120 countries, with prominent Britons set to include Neah Evans, Pidcock and Katie Archibald.
World Athletics Championships, August 19-27
Great Britain’s Jake Wightman will be looking to retain his 1500metres title (Picture: PA)
Due to the Covid pandemic the championships are being held in consecutive years, the Hungarian capital Budapest providing the latest chart of athletes’ progress on the road to the 2024 Olympics in Paris. Britain secured seven medals in Eugene, with Jake Wightman aiming to retain his men’s 1500metres title and Keely Hodgkinson trying to go one better than the silver she secured in the 800m while Katarina Johnson-Thompson will hope to stay fit as she bids to regain the heptathlon crown she won in 2019.
Rugby union World Cup, September 8 – October 28
Will England outperform now Eddie Jones has gone? (Picture: Reuters)
France and New Zealand kick off the tournament at Stade de France in a match-up that would befit the final itself. That’s certainly a possibility as they have contested two of the previous eight finals. South Africa beat England in the 2007 showpiece, the last time France hosted, as the Springboks also did emphatically in Japan four years ago. England’s first game is against Argentina, whose victory at Twickenham helped hasten Eddie Jones’ exit as coach, while Wales’ group features recent conquerors Georgia.
Solheim Cup, September 22-24/Ryder Cup, September 29 – Ooctober 1
Luke Donald will be looking to put things right (Picture: PA)
Golf’s big two team events take place in consecutive weeks, the Solheim Cup coming first in Malaga, Spain. The European team, captained by Suzann Pettersen, are defending the trophy they won at Gleneagles in 2019 and retained in 2021. The Americans are led by two-time major champion Stacy Lewis. Then all roads lead to Rome for the Ryder Cup as captain Luke Donald tries to right the wrongs from 2021 when the Europeans were on the wrong end of a drubbing at Whistling Straits, with Zach Johnson stepping up from vice-captain to lead the USA.
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2022 saw us spoilt rotten.