The first Grand Slam of the tennis calendar is within touching distance …

Breaking – Djokovic OUT, as visa issues prove insurmountable

The 110th edition of the Australian Open gets underway on 17th January, and multiple players have the opportunity to make history in Melbourne in the coming couple of weeks.

This time last year, Novak Djokovic trailed Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal by three Slam titles as he boasted 17, while the others had 20 each. Now, after winning three of the four Majors in 2021, all three men have 20 titles to their name.

Serena Williams is also chasing Margaret Court’s all-time Slam record of 24, but the American will be absent in Melbourne due to injury, so she’ll have to wait until Roland Garros to try and equal Court’s tally.

However, former world number one Naomi Osaka has the opportunity to join an elite group of women should she secure a third Australian Open title. The Japanese star current holds four Major crowns. Should she win a fifth title, Osaka would become the 13th woman in the Open Era to secure at least five Slams – an impressive feat.

Let’s take a look at who the key contenders are this year.

 

Men’s

The favourite in the betting heading into the tournament is Daniil Medvedev.

The Russian reached the finals in Melbourne last year losing to Djokovic , but got his revenge by beating the world no.1 at Flushing Meadows to win his maiden Slam.

It’s been a chaotic process but it still remains uncertain whether Novak Djokovic will take part in this year’s Australian Open (at the time of writing). LATEST – sadly, he won’t be able to challenge this time, and is leaving the country.

Alexander Zverev – the German was in the mix for all four Slams last year, and reached the semi-finals at the French and US Open.

Rafael Nadal – injuries derailed much of Nadal’s 2021, but he’s off to a roaring start in 2022 after topping Maxime Cressy at Melbourne last weekend. However, this is a tournament he’s only conquered once, back in 2009, when he beat Roger Federer in five sets.

Some of the outside chances include Stefanos Tsitsipas, Jannik Sinner, and Andrey Rublev.

Andy Murray – again, at the time of writing – has just reached his first ATP Tour final since 2019 with a three-set win over Reilly Opelka at the Sydney Tennis Classic.

Think he can cause an upset Down Under for old time’s sake?

Full Men’s Outright, updated, now of course minus Djokovic

 

Women’s

World no.1 Ashleigh Barty is the betting favourite for the Women’s title at 3/1.

The Australian has two majors under her belt and made the quarter-finals here last year, and the semis in 2020.

She recorded commanding victories in the two Masters 1000 hard court events she participated in last year, and she’s continued that fine form with a title in Adelaide, beating the likes of Coco Gauff and Elena Rybakina along the way.

Second-favourite is Naomi Osaka at 13/2, who is seeking a third title Down Under, and a fifth in total.

Hard court seems to be her best surface and where she’s had the most success. She’ll certainly be a threat to go deep into the tournament.

Reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu makes her Australian Open debut here and is a big outsider at 33/1. But after her heroics at Flushing Meadows – becoming the first qualifier in the Open Era to win a Slam – it’d be foolish to write her off completely.

Iga Swiatek is another young player who could potentially go all the way at 10/1. Still only 20, she won the French Open back in 2020, and although she wasn’t able to match that last year, she still enjoyed a very good season, reaching at least the fourth round in all four majors – the only player on the WTA tour to do so.

She further added two more singles titles in Adelaide and at the Italian Open, so could be an outside shout here.

Full Women’s Outright

 

Australian Open Betting Odds