The Grand Slams are done for 2021 and already attentions are turning to 2022 with the Australian Open in January within touching distance.
It will come as little surprise that nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic tops the betting to win again in Melbourne. The world number one is chasing a hat-trick having lifted the title in 2019 and 2020.
Djokovic went agonisingly close to achieving the calendar year Grand Slam in 2021, winning in Australia, the French Open and Wimbledon before losing to Daniil Medvedev in the final of the US Open in New York.
It was Medvedev who was on the wrong end of the result in the final of the 2021 Australian Open. The Russian, fresh off his US Open victory, is once again second favourite for the opening Grand Slam event of the new year in January.
Rafael Nadal, the 2009 Australian Open champion, is the third favourite in the betting odds to end his wait for another title in Melbourne. The Spaniard reached the quarter-finals in 2021, but missed the last two Grand Slams of the year.
Fourth favourite Alexander Zverev has never reached the Australian Open final, while fifth favourite Dominic Thiem did reach the title decider in 2020 only to lose to Djokovic.
Next in the betting is Stefanos Tsitsipas, one of the most popular players among the Australian fans, as he looks to better two semi-final appearances, and Roger Federer, the six-time champion who opted against playing in Melbourne in 2021.
Defending champion Naomi Osaka tops the betting for the women’s Australian Open title, although once again the race for victory in Melbourne is much more wide open than the men’s draw.
Osaka, who defeated Jennifer Brady in the 2021 final to take her second Australian Open following her maiden slam in 2019, is a narrow favourite ahead of home hope Ashleigh Barty.
World number one Barty reached the semi-final in 2020 but lost to Brady in the quarter-finals last year when the weight of expectation was on her shoulders playing in front a home crowd.
Following her shock US Open victory in September, Emma Raducanu is now third favourite to follow up that success in the Australian Open. The teenager emerged as a star of the game and will feature in her first Aus Open.
This year’s Wimbledon and US Open semi-finalist Aryna Sabalenka sits on the fourth line of betting as he bids for a first-ever Grand Slam success. The Belarusian has never been passed the fourth round in Melbourne with her best result coming in 2021.
Bianca Andreescu, the 2019 US Open winner, has made it into the third round in Australia but is the fifth favourite. She is ahead of 2020 French Open Iga Swiatek, who is yet to play in the Australian Open.
Two-time Grand Slam winner Simon Halep lost her only Australian Open final appearance in 2018 but remains a leading contender in the better, while US Open breakout star Leylah Fernandez – who lost the final to Raducanu – is given a strong hope of making a winning Australian Open debut in January.
Not sure Djokovic will be allowed into Australia to compete in the Aus Open. We almost certainly will have a no vax no entry policy (like NZ just started)
Sabalenka is Belarusian not Bulgarian.