Novak Djokovic is a strong favourite to add to his seven Australian Open titles this month.
Djokovic has proven dominant at Melbourne Park in the last few years, with the Serbian superstar having won the event six times in the last nine years.
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Already the most successful player in the history of the tournament, Djokovic is certainly the man to beat with familiar faces Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer among his key foes.
Nadal is the top seed at the 2020 Australian Open given his ranking as the world’s number one, but the Spaniard has lost two of the last three finals and has only won the tournament once, in 2009.
As for Federer, he may seem ageless but at 38, it is unclear how the Swiss veteran’s body is going to react to the demands of another grueling season on the ATP tour.
Could this be the year when a young pretender to the crown held by the so-called Big Three (Andy Murray is absent once more) finally makes the breakthrough in a Grand Slam tournament?
Daniil Medvedev is available at a shorter price than Federer in the odds for the Australian Open, with Stefanos Tsitsipas, Dominic Thiem, Denis Shapovalov and Andrey Rublev in the frame. But where is the best value to be found? Let’s take a look.
Can Anyone Stop Djokovic?
He may be the second seed but there was no doubt who would be the favourite in the odds for the Australian Open title, with Djokovic available at around the 6/5 to triumph yet again.
Djokovic was set to play at new tournament the Adelaide International as a warm-up for the Australian Open but he decided he had got enough court time under his belt at the ATP Cup – where he helped Serbia to beat Spain in the final – to pull out of the event.
As a ferocious competitor, it is unlikely the Australian Open being so early is going to harm Djokovic’s chances – it has done him no harm before – and his draw does not look challenging.
Jan-Lennard Struff awaits in the first round and while the German is a threat on his day, Djokovic will be too good. Likely early opponents Tatsumo Ito and Daniel Evans are unlikely to be able to stop Djokovic from going on to the fourth round either.
The first big test he is likely to face is against Diego Schwartzman, with Tsitsipas potentially awaiting at the quarter-final stage. Tsitsipas is far from guaranteed to get that far, though, with the Greek seeking to repeat his run to the last four a year ago. Milos Raonic, Marin Cilic and Roberto Bautista-Agut are all in his section of the draw, making his price of 16/1 look hopeful.
Can Nadal or Federer Roll Back the Years?
Nadal and Federer are in opposite halves of the draw, but the chances of yet another Grand Slam final between the old rivals appear to be remote given Djokovic’s dominance.
Top seed Nadal should get through to the third round without too many issues and at that stage, he is scheduled to come up against his compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta, a canny operator but a player with a poor head-to-head record against his fellow Spaniard.
Karen Khachanov or Nick Kyrgios lurk in Nadal’s section and the Australian is a name of interest here. Kyrgios can be backed at a price of 33/1 with Australia hoping for a first male winner on home soil since Mark Edmondson in 1976 to lift the local mood amid the bushfires that continue to tear through the nation. As always with Kyrgios, mentality not talent is the main question, but at 24 he may finally be ready to mature and fulfil his potential.
Kyrgios helped to set the tone for the sporting donations that have rained in to help combat the bushfires and he looks a solid bet to make it through this quarter, with Nadal rarely producing his best level of tennis on the hard courts of Melbourne Park.
Federer’s chances are harder to read than Nadal’s, with the six-time winner having rolled back the years in both 2017 and 2018. This year, he is the fourth favourite at odds of 10/1 with the bookmakers seemingly unconvinced he represents a genuine threat to Djokovic.
Shapovalov is a potential fourth-round opponent for Federer – who has potential banana skin Steve Johnson up first – and the Swiss would do well to reach a Djokovic date in the semis.
Fourth Seed Medvedev Handed Difficult Draw
As the fourth seed, Medvedev (8/1) may have been hoping for a comfortable run deep into the Australian Open’s second week but the draw has put a number of objects in his path.
Frances Tiafoe is one of the trickiest first-round ties he could have been handed and the Russian will probably have to beat both Dominic Koepfer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga if he is to make it through to the fourth round. Koepfer gave Medvedev a scare at last year’s US Open.
Stan Wawrinka, the 2014 champion, is also in the second quarter, and his price of 66/1 to win the tournament again looks to be quite generous. Wawrinka’s chances of reaching the fourth round look solid but Medvedev would be a big favourite were they to meet at that stage.
Alexander Zverev is the other big name in this section, but the young German continues to struggle. His 2019 was nothing short of a nightmare and he marked the new year with a run of three defeats at the ATP Cup. That Zverev is available at up to 50/1 reflects his fall from grace.
Australian Open Men’s Draw Best Bets
It will take something special for Djokovic to be stopped in his tracks and in all likelihood, he will come out on top to add to his haul of seven Australian Open titles. At the 6/5 mark, though, many tennis fans will not feel as though backing Djokovic to win the event has much value.
Instead, the each-way market might be the best way to make some money out of betting on the 2020 Australian Open, so the top half of the draw, away from Djokovic, is of interest.
Nadal has reached two of the last three finals and he always has to be respected, but at 9/2 there are a handful of more appealing alternatives in the betting than this year’s top seed.
Kyrgios, for example, really stands out at 33/1. He can crash out in the first round if he loses his composure, but the Australian looked in good form representing his country at the ATP Cup and seems set to finally step up and take some responsibility.
Rublev has looked sharp in the build-up to the tournament and the talented Russian, another name from the top half, could prove to be very good value at the 66/1 mark in the betting.
Gael Monfils at 300/1 is a real punt but there are much worse options in the first quarter, which could open up in his favour should Nadal suffer an early exit at Melbourne Park.
Monfils at 20/1 to win the first quarter is another option worth considering this week.