Australian Open 2019: Djokovic, Federer hot favorites to win men's singles title
The rivalry between the top guns of World tennis would get reignited when the Australian Open, first Grand Slam of the year begins from Monday at Melbourne Park.
On expected lines, top-ranked Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep, were handed the No. 1 seedings on Thursday when the Australian Open announced its singles seeding list. 2009 champion Rafael Nadal is seeded second while defending champion Roger Federer is seeded No. 3. In the women's singles, defending singles champion Caroline Wozniacki, who beat Halep in last year's title clash is No. 3 behind second-seeded and 2016 champion Angelique Kerber.
So let us have a look at the players who have the best chance of winning the men's singles title -
Going by current form and the track record of playing at recent Australian Opens, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic shall go down as the hot favourites to win the men's singles title. Federer who is the defending champion would fancy his chances of retaining his title and adding a record extending 21st Grand Slam Title. 'Fedex' comes into the tournament courtesy a good run of form, winning the Hopman Cup at Perth for Switzerland. Federer would also be eyeing his 100th career ATP title and narrow the gap with the all time leader Jimmy Connors. Federer is in top shape as he has wise fully spaced out his season to play the Grand Slams and major tournament.
Career titles: 99
Australian Open Titles : 6 (Australian Open 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2017, 2018)
Australian Open win-loss record: 94-13
2. NOVAK DJOKOVIC
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic goes in as the joint favorite with Federer to win the men's singes title . Djokovic has been one of the most successful players at the Australian Open , winning a record 6 titles. Djokovic comes in the tournament after one of the most spectacular comebacks in men's tennis. After he slumped to an all time low in the rankings owing to a spree of injuries , 'Djoko' made a resounding comeback winning the 2018 Wimbledon and US Open titles and regaining the World No. 1 ranking. Djokovic would have an added incentive to win as he would go past Pete Sampras' tally of 14 slams, thereby becoming the most successful Australian Open champion in the Open Era.
3. RAFAEL NADAL
Second seed Rafael Nadal once again hit by injuries at the start of the tournament shall be raring to put all his force and might to win his second Australian Open title knowing Nadal's tremendous fighting ability and resilience to fight pain. Nadal who has won the Australian Open in 2009 and has had a couple of final appearances wont make it easy for his opponents to breeze away with the title. After winning his 11th French Open title at Roland Garros in 2018, the Spaniard's second half was plagued by injury as he pulled out of most of the events after his semifinal exit at the US Open. 2019 hasn't been any better for Rafa as he sustained injuries at the Brisbane International and also had to pull out of the practice matches.
4. ANDY MURRAY
Andy Murray who announced an emotional retirement announcement would love to end his last Australian Open campaign on a high. The Scotsman who has never won at Melbourne, would give it all to add a fourth grand slam title to his kitty.Murray has reached the finals on quite a few occasions, ending up as the losing finalist to either Federer or Djokovic.
Besides the top four, Marin Cilic, Stanislas Warwinka and Kei Nishikori have the game to go the distance and emerge as champions. Meanwhile, 21-year-old hard hitting Alexander Zverev looks to be the most likely of the younger generation of players to win his maiden Grand Slam title . Zverev shall come into the tournament high on confidence, having beaten Federer and Djokovic at the ATP Tour Finals in London last November.
While the veterans continue to dominate the Grand Slams, it has to be seen whether the emerging force can serve a strong challenge to the big guns and break their stranglehold. The ‘Generation Next’ like Austria’s Dominic Thiem and the 22-year-old Russians Karen Khachanov and Daniil Medvedev can inflict major upsets, but it has to be seen whether they can win seven matches at a stretch to win the title.
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