Auger Aliassime with a decent chance
- 3pts Back Novak Djokovic to win Australian Open at 1.77
- 1pt Back Felix Auger Aliassime to win Australian Open at 18.50
Last year’s Australian Open final provided arguably the finest match of the whole year as Rafael Nadal came from two sets down to beat Daniil Medvedev. In doing so, Nadal beat numerous records, the most significant of which was becoming the all-time leader for men’s Grand Slam wins with 21, a tally he was to add to just a few months later when also winning the French Open. But of course, last year there was a certain player missing…
Excellent 2022 for the Serbian
There’s only one place to start when it comes to the Australian Open. Novak Djokovic’s “will he, won’t he?” saga regarding whether the unvaccinated Serbian champ could play in Melbourne last year made headline news around the world. In the end, he missed out and with it a fantastic opportunity to add to his own tally of Grand Slams.
Djokovic made up for it, of course, winning Wimbledon and four other tournaments, including the ATP Finals, also making a further two finals. He looked back to his best physically and mentally, not to mention from a technical point of view. From among the top-ranked players, his serving stats were the best by a country mile, while his figures for return of serve were up there with the very best, as well.
And of course, if there was one tournament where you’d be confident of going ‘all in’ on the man they call the ‘Serbinator’, it would be this one.
His nine wins here in Melbourne are the most by some distance, three clear of the next best in the Open era: Roger Federer, who won it six times. Making even better reading for Djokovic fans and would-be backers is the fact that in his last three appearances here between 2019 and 2021, he won all three.
Djokovic’s Current form
Current form? No problem. Last week Djokovic beat the pre-tournament second-favourite Medvedev in Adelaide in impressive fashion. Not only was that an indication of the form he’s in but it would also have been a mental body blow to the Russian, who will have that defeat on his mind should they meet again during the Aussie Open.
Djokovic has now won 30 of his last 31 matches on the ATP Tour since crashing out of the French Open at the hands of Rafael Nadal, the only loss being in the final of the Paris Masters, where he surprisingly went down to teenager Holger Rune. So, are there any reasons at all to think that Djokovic won’t add another Australian Open title to his name?
Well, he did suffer a hamstring injury on Wednesday in a practice match against Medvedev. It remains to be seen whether he’ll now play on Friday in an exhibition match against Nick Kyrgios or decides he doesn’t want to risk anything. But a potential injury really does seem like the only thing that can stop him going all the way.
Recommended Bet: 3pts Back Novak Djokovic to win Australian Open at 1.77
The all-important draw
But if backing the hot favourite at odds-on isn’t your sort of bet, then who could provide a good alternative?
From among the favourites, last year’s winner Rafael Nadal can probably be discounted. Since winning those two Grand Slams last year, his form has seriously dipped. Not only have the wins dried up, but the stats suggest his return of serve, such a trump card his whole career, is on the wane. And this is without even mentioning his persistent injuries which mean there’s always a chance he may choose to retire from a match rather than aggravate an injury further. We’ve said all of this before of course, and he’s proved us wrong, but he’s not for us this time.
The likes of Taylor Fritz, Casper Ruud and Nick Kyrgios could have decent tournaments, but they all share the same problem: they’re on the same side of the draw as Djokovic. That means they’d all have to play him at some stage before the final (assuming Djokovic makes the semi) and even if they did beat him, would then have to play another extremely tough opponent in the final two days later. That looks too big an ask not just from a tennis point of view but also a physical point of view because even if they do beat the Serb, it will surely take a lot out of them in terms of energy.
Medvedev, on the opposite side of the draw, could well replicate last year’s effort. But there are two negatives with him: his Grand Slam record isn’t great in general, suggesting he struggles physically in best-of-five matches, and his odds aren’t great.
Auger Aliassime stands a decent chance
So, it might be worth going with Felix Auger Aliassime who is also on the opposite side of the draw. The Number 7 ranked Canadian had a good run at last year’s Australian Open, losing in five sets to eventual runner-up Medvedev in the quarterfinals, and showed he can compete with the very best by taking Nadal to five sets at the French Open.
Last year Aliassime won the Rotterdam Open and was then part an integral of the Canada team who won their first-ever Davis Cup.
Tall, athletic, with a strong serve and a consistent all-round game, at 22 he may just be reaching the age where he’s able to take his game to the next level in a Grand Slam.
Top tip: Being on the opposite side of the draw to Djokovic means he won’t play him until the final. Even better, he’ll be hoping someone else takes out Djoko and gets to play someone else in the final. Either way, he’s capable of going all the way.
Recommended Bet: 1pt Back Felix Auger Aliassime to win Australian Open at 18.50