Early Australian Open Picks And Preview
The finishing touches might still to be put on the 2019 season, but men’s tennis is already looking ahead to 2020 following the conclusion of the ATP Tour Finals last week. The great and good of the sport will pitch up in Melbourne for the Australian Open next January, but what can we expect to see at the tennis season’s Grand Slam curtain raiser?
The usual suspects
While 2019 was a year which saw the likes of Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas make great strides, all four Grand Slams were still claimed by the usual suspects. Indeed, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal shared two major titles each with Roger Federer coming within just one match point of winning Wimbledon for an astonishing ninth time.
The Big Three still reign supreme at the top of the men’s game and there’s little reason to believe they won’t lead the way heading into the 2020 season at Melbourne Park. The winter rest should have Djokovic, Nadal and Federer all feeling fresh and that could be ominous for the rest of the chasing pack. Djokovic and Nadal in particular could take their rivalry to new heights in 2020.
1.5 - Back Rafael Nadal To Win the 2020 Australian Open @ +375
The comeback kids
You didn’t forget about Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka, did you? It’s not so long ago that the Big Three was the Big Four and maybe even the Big Five given Wawrinka’s record as a three-time Grand Slam champion. Both players have been robbed of the past two years of their career due to injury, but there have been recent glimpses of their best tennis again.
Murray stands the best chance of becoming a regular at the top of the sport again. Of course, the 2019 Australian Open saw the Scot partially bid farewell to the sport, undergoing career-saving surgery just days later. His recovery since then has been remarkable, winning the European Open in Antwerp (where he beat Wawrinka in the final) just weeks into his singles comeback. Best of five set matches will present Murray with a new challenge, but he could be a factor in Melbourne next January.
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The next generation
The dam will break at some point. While 2019 didn’t see a member of the next generation claim a Grand Slam title, it finally feels like they are banging on the door. Medvedev came within just one set of getting over the line at the 2019 US Open and the Russian has to be considered an early contender for the 2020 Australian Open such was his astonishing form in the second half of the season.
Indeed, Medvedev has the game to trouble the Big Three and looked comfortable in his first Grand Slam final at Flushing Meadows. Not only does he possess the weapons, he has the right mindset. Stefanos Tsitsipas is another tipped for the top, with the Greek breaking through in 2019 by making the semi finals of the Australian Open and winning his maiden ATP Tour Finals.
Then there’s Dominic Thiem. Until recently, the Austrian was written off as clay court specialist who would only ever stand a chance of breaking his Grand Slam duck at Roland Garros. But Thiem has made great progress with his hard court game, making the final of the ATP Tour Finals and also winning at Indian Wells earlier in the year.
2019 was expected to be a big year for Sascha Zverev, but that never materialised as the German only made it as far as the quarter finals of one Slam (the French Open). Zverev still has to prove he can last the distance at the majors, with the 22-year-old drawn into lengthy slogs in the early rounds far too often. However, Zverev still has the raw potential and shouldn't be written off at such an early age. He will want to start 2020 by making a deep run at the Australian Open.
2u - Back Daniil Medvedev To Win the 2020 Australian Open @