The world tennis tour was badly hit by the COVID pandemic in 2020, but after missing the likes of Wimbledon, it seems the circuit is starting to roll around again in 2021 with the Australian Open going ahead as planned in February.
Many of the tennis players that are participating have been holed up in hotel rooms on quarantine for the past fortnight, with many practicing their skills by hitting balls against their bedroom walls or even doing shuttle runs in the across their rooms to keep up their fitness levels.
There’s any chance that the quality levels might not be as high as we are used to on the world stage, but whatever happens, we have to be thankful that the first Major of the year can go ahead, albeit without too many spectators.
We’ve decided to have a look at some of the main names on show, and pick out a few to keep your eye on in this year’s Australian Open.
Men’s tennis has been dominated by a selected group of players over the last decade, and that shows no sign of changing as we head into the first Major tournament of the New Year.
Novak Djokovic has been close to unstoppable on the hard courts in Australia, and has won no less that eight Australia Open titles including the last two in succession.
In truth, between him and Roger Federer they have won 10 of the 11 Australia Open’s since 2010, but have surprisingly never met each other in the final.
Djokovic edged a five set thriller with Dominic Thiem in the final last year, which finished 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, and the two look to be evenly matched heading into this year’s tournament.
On the women’s side of the tournament, things haven’t quite been so dominant with five different winners in the last five years.
Those include Angelique Kerber, Serena Williams, Carloine Wozniacki, Naomi Osaka and Sofifa Kenin.
Some of those names aren’t around for this year’s renewal, but Naomi Osaka is and her Australia Open victory came thanks to a memorable final win over Petra Kvitova in 2019, which came in three sets thanks to a score line of 7-6, 3-6, 6-4.
She also added to her major tally last year with victory at the US Open, which makes her one of the most feared hard court players on the circuit.
If she can keep that trend going, then she’ll be a force to be reckoned with once again in Australia.
He’s long been the bad boy of the men’s tennis circuit, but Nick Kyrgios certainly has the talent to compete at the highest level and could have circumstances to suit this year.
While other players have been locked up in their hotel rooms, has enjoyed a relaxed preparation in his home country of Australia, and might be able to make that count with some tournament-winning performances out on the court.
He’s even enjoyed a public spat with Novak Djokovic over the current champs demands ahead of the tournament, so it will be an interesting tie to say the least, if they meet each other on the court at some point during the tournament.
Australian Open Odds
Our three picks all feature heavily in the current ante-post odds for the Australian Open at Odds Manager with Novak Djokovic currently the 11/8 favourite to win the tournament for a ninth time, while Nick Kyrgios is something of an each-way chance at 35/1 in the waging.
Last year’s finalist, Dominic Thiem is available at 5/1 with most bookies, while the legendary Rafael Nadal is 11/2 to claim a second Aussie Open title.
As for the women’s side of the tournament, the betting is topped by Naomi Oskaka at 6/1, closely followed by Aryna Sabalenka at 9/1 and Ashleigh Barty at 10/1.