Can an American Player End A Long U.S. Drought At the Australian Open?
Novak Djokovic is back in Melbourne looking to extend his own record for Australian Open men’s singles titles. Djokovic lost just one set in the 2023 tournament as he won his 10th Australian Open title, a tennis record in the event.
Rafael Nadal, who was the top seed in the 2023 Australian Open and is a two-time champion at the first Grand Slam in the tennis calendar, recently pulled out after being injured in his long-awaited return to the ATP tour. He suffered a hip injury while playing in Brisbane.
Without Nadal in the field and Roger Federer being retired, Djokovic is the only former champion set to be seeded in the event. He looks to add to his tennis record for most men’s Grand Slam singles titles.
There is one more tune-up tournament before the start of the Australian Open with Americans Tommy Paul and Sebastian Korba seeded first and third in the Adelaide International event.
Djokovic sits atop the current ATP rankings. He is followed by Carlos Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev, Jannik Sinner, and Andrey Rublev.
Djokovic is listed at +110 in the Australian Open men’s tennis outrights.
When looking at the Australian Open schedule, the qualifying draw is currently underway. The main draw will start on Jan. 14.
Can Anybody Stop the Defending Champion?
Had a couple of points gone the other way, Djokovic would be headed into 2024 as the reigning champion in all four Grand Slams as well as in the ATP Finals.
Djokovic has won at least one Grand Slam singles title in nine of the last 10 years.
He won the Australian Open, French Open, and US Open titles in 2023 and lost a classic final to Carlos Alcaraz at Wimbledon. This came after his visa was canceled as a result of Djokovic not being vaccinated against COVID-19 and that prevented him from playing in the 2022 Australian Open. He wasn’t able to play in the 2022 US Open for the same reason.
Djokovic won seven titles in 2023 and he beat a different player in each of those championship matches. He is favored to add another Australian Open men’s singles title to his growing collection.
A Look At Other Top Contenders
Alcaraz could be the top challenger for Djokovic as he is priced at +330 to win the Australian Open.
Alcaraz pulled out of the 2023 Australian Open as a result of a hamstring issue and he lost the No. 1 ATP ranking to Djokovic after the Australian Open men’s singles title went to Djokovic. Alcaraz lost in the second round in Sydney in 2021 and fell in the third round in 2022.
Jannik Sinner, not far removed from a run to the singles final at the ATP Finals, has +650 odds to win the Australian Open.
Sinner was the only player to beat Djokovic at the ATP Finals and won again in a Davis Cup match. Both of those matches took place in November. Will that recent success carry over if the two tennis players meet again? Djokovic did win the rematch at the ATP Finals in the championship match dropping only six tennis games in the straight-set victory.
Sinner has never advanced past the semifinals at the Grand Slam event. The 22-year-old Sinner has made it past the fourth round just once in his four previous Australian Open appearances.
Daniil Medvedev is a two-time Australian Open finalist and the 2021 US Open champion so winning high-profile matches on hard courts is nothing new to him.
He has played in five Grand Slam singles finals and met up with either Djokovic or Nadal each time.
When looking at the Australian Open scores, Medvedev lost in the third round in last year’s Australian Open. He is priced at +900 in the Australian Open outrights.
What About the U.S. Hopes?
The last American-born player to reach the Australian Open men’s singles final was 2003 champion Andre Agassi.
Tommy Paul, Ben Shelton, and Sebastian Korda each reached the 2023 Australian Open quarterfinals with Paul topping Shelton in four sets to reach the semifinals. Paul’s run ended in straight sets to Djokovic.
Shelton has the best tennis odds among the U.S. players at +5000 followed by Taylor Fritz (+6500), Frances Tiafoe (+8000), Korda (+8000), and Paul (+10000).
Michael Mmoh is the No. 5 seed in the men’s qualifying draw and one of seven Americans in the qualifying draw.
Watch Out for the Hot Players
With many of the top players skipping the final tune-up, it might be hard to read much into the results in Adelaide.
It is worth watching a couple of players showing pretty good form in recent tournaments.
Andrey Rublev had to win a couple of three-set matches on his way to capturing the title in Hong Kong.
Alexander Zverev played a starring role in Germany’s surprising run to the United Cup championship.
He saved two championship points to top Hubert Hurkacz in the men’s singles match and for the third match in a row, he teamed with Laura Siegemund in the clinching mixed doubles match as Germany upset Poland to win the title.
Zverev comes in at +2500 in the odds of winning the Australian Open. Rublev is a little further back at +6600.
Holger Rune, +2100 in the Australian Open outrights, is another player to keep an eye on.
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