Tennis’ first Grand Slam of 2023 gets underway at the Australian Open in Melbourne on Monday 16th January, with defending champion Rafael Nadal looking to hold off Novak Djokovic and retain his crown.
The Spaniard heads into the tournament on an all-time record 22 Grand Slam titles, but this leaves him only one clear of Djokovic after the Serb triumphed at Wimbledon last July. These two great rivals could meet in Sunday 29th January’s final having been drawn in separate halves.
After being deported from Australia during last year’s tournament due to his vaccination status, Djokovic remains unbeaten in 34 matches in Melbourne having last lost there in 2018.
Given his dominance down under, it’s perhaps little surprise to see the nine-time champion as the overwhelming outright betting favourite at odds of 1.75, and he should make light work of Roberto Carballes Baena in the opening round on Monday.
Last year’s runner-up Daniil Medvedev is considered to be Djokovic’s most likely challenger at odds of 5.60, and the Russian is firmly expected to beat Marcos Giron in his first match.
However, considering that Nadal beat Medvedev in straight sets in last year’s final, 13.0 looks a chunky price for the Spaniard to win his third Aus Open. He has a tougher first round opponent in British No. 2 Jack Draper, with Medvedev lying in wait for a potential rematch at the quarter-final stage.
Rated at the same outright price as Nadal is Nick Kyrgios, whose box office presence has led to him becoming the centrepiece in the first episode of Netflix’s imminent ‘Break Point’ documentary. Three days after its release, the 27-year-old is expected to do the business on court by beating Roman Safiullin.
Having reached his first ever Grand Slam final at last year’s Wimbledon, the Australian maverick could prove to be a force to be reckoned with home support on his side. However, potential quarter-final opponent Djokovic would likely possess the psychological edge after beating Kyrgios from one set down in that Wimbledon final.
In the women’s game, meanwhile, World No. 1 Iga Swiatek is heavily fancied to win her fourth Grand Slam title after reaching the semi-finals last year. The Pole can be backed at odds of 3.20 to win the Aus Open ladies’ final on Saturday 28th January.
Elsewhere, British No. 1 Emma Raducanu appears to have shaken off an ankle issue to face Tamara Korspatch in round one, but she’s unfancied to win her second Gram Slam title.