To sign up for our daily email newsletter, CLICK HERE
Tennis has gone through a golden age in recent years. Older generations might look back at John McEnroe versus Bjorn Borg, or Pete Sampras against Andre Agassi as the pinnacle of the sport. Yet, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal have taken tennis to new heights with enthralling duels.
However, the 2021 version of the Australian Open doesn’t seem as if it will crown either of these men as champions. Federer is out with an injury; Nadal is also carrying an injury, and Djokovic has been uncharacteristically out of form. The Open presents the best opportunity in decades for someone outside of the top three to break into the fold, and these are the players with the best chances.
The Russian is probably the hottest player on the tour right now after an incredible 2020 that culminated in an ATP Finals victory. However, it isn’t only the fact that he has titles under his belt that makes Medvedev dangerous. It’s the fact that he beat the main contenders on his way to a near-perfect tournament in London. As well as dispatching Dominic Thiem, Diego Schwartzman, and Alexander Zverev, Medvedev beat Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal in the round-robin and semi-finals, respectively. As a result, it’s not a surprise the sports betting places him at 5/1 to take home the title, also known as fourth-favorite. Yes, the bookies say there are other contenders, yet Medvedev goes into the Aussie Open knowing he can beat them all because he has done so very recently.
Of course, Dominic Thiem won’t go out onto the court thinking he is beaten. Like Daniil Medvedev, he had an incredible ATP Finals, reaching the final hurdle. Still, just because Medvedev has a victory in their latest match doesn’t mean it’s going to be a walkover if their paths cross in the competition. Thiem led one set to love in a three-set match lasting 2 hours and 42 minutes, which is essentially an epic. The swashbuckling tennis star had to beat Djokovic in the semis to reach the blue-ribboned event, while the Austrian is a grand slam winner at the US Open. He’s also reached the final of the first slam of the year previously, in 2020, so Thiem is dangerous on hard court. At 5/1, the bookmakers agree.
Alexander Zverev has previously been labeled as a choker, a perception the German has done everything in his power to change. Okay, he hasn’t yet won a grand slam title, but at the age of 23, he has a long time to add to the list of great German winners. The fact that he’s already competed in finals and semi-finals, against the men he will face in Australia, shows ready for the challenge. Plus, the ATP Master’s silverware he has won has been on hard courts, for instance, back-to-back titles in Cologne. Zverev is 16/1 to win the competition outright, yet his powerful, aggressive style will count for a lot on unforgiving hard courts.
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are rightly the men tipped to go long in the tournament. However, Medvedev, Thiem, and Zverev have all proven they are capable of picking up the pieces or winning outright, as their odds show.