With the turn of the new year, many sporting calendars have started afresh for 2023 — and that is the case for tennis, with the first of their four major Grand Slams already gearing up to get underway later this month.
That’s right. The Australian Open will take place at Melbourne Park between 16-29 June, and there is no dark cloud hanging over this year’s renewal following the controversy surrounding Novak Djokovic 12 months ago — which resulted in the nine-time winner being deported from the country.
So, with the tournament less than a week away and the tennis betting market for the outright winner of the Men’s Singles beginning to gain some traction, let’s take a look at some of the favourites for the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup — the official name of the trophy presented to the male winner of the Australian Open.
It will come as no surprise that Novak Djokovic heads in to the tournament as the short-price favourite at around 11/10. The Serbian was gunning for his fourth successive and record-extending 10th career Australian Open title before that fiasco denied him that chance last year.
The 35-year-old will be keen to put all that chaos from 12 months ago behind him down under this year, however — as a victory at Melbourne Park would not only give him that sought-after 10th success, but also pull him back level with defending champion Rafael Nadal in the race for the most career Grand Slams.
An Australian Open finalist for the last two years in a row, will it be third time lucky for Daniil Medvedev at Melbourne Park this time out? Well, the bookmakers certainly aren’t counting the Russian out — making him a 13/2 chance to break that duck down under if you’re looking for a bet on Australian Open.
It wasn’t the best of years for the 26-year-old after his showpiece appearance in Australia though, as he suffered from a couple of injuries and only won two tour titles — while failing to get passed the fourth round at the US or French Open and missing Wimbledon due to the ban on Russians.
He made a good account of himself in the Adelaide International 1, losing to Djokovic in the final of the warm-up event for the Australian Open, and does have a good record at Melbourne Park. So don’t rule him out.
Despite being the defending champion of the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup, Rafael Nadal is as far out as 12/1 to retain his title at Melbourne Park later this month.
The Spaniard also won the French Open to scoop the first two Grand Slams of 2022, but his form dipped thereafter due to injuries.
The 36-year-old World No.2 claims that he is in good physical condition ahead of the Australian Open, but he heads into the tournament without having played any of the warm-ups and that could either be a cause for concern or make him fresher than his opponents. We will just have to wait and see.