Best bets for the Australian Open men’s singles


The favourites

This event has been dominated by one man in the last decade, but there are a decent list of challengers to eight-time champion Novak Djokovic.

The best of those is perhaps Austrian Dominic Thiem , who enjoyed the breakthrough 12 months in 2020 that has been a long time coming.

Thiem reached the quarter-finals of all three grand slams across the year, reaching the final in Melbourne 12 months ago and finally lifting his first major title in New York in September.

Though he is at his best on clay, he has reached the last eight in six of his last 11 slams, proving himself as an all-rounder.

It is impossible to ignore the merits of Djokovic , though, who has won seven of the last 10 editions of this event.

He was favourite for the US Open in September, only to be disqualified, before reaching the final of the French Open a few weeks later.

He did lose to Thiem at the ATP Finals in November, but his track record at this event makes him the man to back.

The outsiders

It will be interesting to keep an eye on the progress of Felix Auger-Aliassime , who has gone well in the warm-up competition in Melbourne leading into the Australian Open.

The 20-year-old Canadian reached three finals last season, losing the last of them to Alex Zverev on the hard court in Germany in October.

He was beaten by eventual champion Thiem at the US Open in September, but – having claimed the scalps of Stefanos Tsitsipas and Grigor Dimitrov previously – he can ruffle a few feathers, though he will have to overcome Thiem and Djokovic to reach the final.

It will also be interesting to see how Nick Kyrgios responds to the lack of crowds in his home tournament.

He hasn’t progressed beyond the fourth round in any slam since this competition in 2015, but the change in circumstances could suit a maverick player.

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