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The biggest names in tennis will head to Melbourne in January for the first Grand Slam tournament of the year – the 2020 Australian Open. The tournament is set to run from Monday, January 20 to Sunday, February 2 and our resident tennis experts have picked out who they think will go all the way Down Under.
Men: Novak Djokovic @ 7/4 bet365*
* Odds correct at 08:21 GMT on 26/11/2019
No man in the long history of the sport has won more Australian Open titles than Novak Djokovic, and the legendary Serbian is unsurprisingly the early favourite to claim an eighth crown in the opening major of 2020. Djokovic produced an absolutely dominant performance to crush Rafael Nadal in the 2019 final, claiming a record-breaking seventh title in the process.
The Serbian would go on to put together another quality season, winning four more titles, including Wimbledon to take his Grand Slam tally to 16. His year ended on a bit of disappointing note, as he lost the world No. 1 ranking to Nadal after failing to qualify for the knockout rounds of the Nitto ATP Finals, and faltered in his bid to lead Serbia to a second Davis Cup title.
The world No. 2 made it very clear towards the end of the 2019 season that he considers Grand Slams titles and the No. 1 ranking as the most prestigious honours in the sport, especially now at this stage of his career, and the loss of that top ranking to Nadal would have really hurt. However, it should also serve as extra motivation for the new season as he bids to regain the position from his great rival. Djokovic has dominated Australia over the last decade, and he will again be the man to beat in Melbourne in January 2020.
World No. 1, Rafael Nadal is second favourite at 7/2 to win the Australian Open for a second time. Nadal has come close to doubling his Melbourne tally a few times in the last decade reaching four finals since 2012, but you do feel if he runs into Djokovic again, the Spaniard will be second best.
Six-time champion, Roger Federer is priced at 10/1, as is Daniil Medvedev. who will be seeking his maiden major in Melbourne. ATP champion, Stefanos Tsitsipas – a semi-finalist in Melbourne last year – might be worth a wager at 12/1 if you are looking past the usual suspects, but we are sticking Djokovic to reign down under again.
Women: Ashleigh Barty @ 8/1 VirginBet
A key feature of the women’s tour over the last few years has been its unpredictability, but is that about to change with Ashleigh Barty attempting to establish herself on top of the game?
Barty produced a wonderfully consistent 2019 to claim the year-end No. 1 ranking- winning a maiden major title at Roland Garros, the WTA Finals title in Shenzhen, a first Premier Mandatory title in Miami, and another title in Birmingham. The world No. 1 is valued at 8/1to add the 2020 Australian Open title to her collection. The 23-year-old has never got past the quarter finals of the Australian Open, but her career has been on a sharp upward trajectory over the last few seasons, and if she doesn’t get overwhelmed by an expectant home crowd, I reckon she has got as good a chance as anyone of going all the way.
Despite being No. 1 in the world, Barty is not actually the bookies’ favourite to win the Australian Open – that honour goes to the legendary Serena Williams who will again go after that elusive 24th major title. Since her return from child birth, Serena has been pushing hard at the majors, falling just short on a number of occasions. She was a beaten finalist in each of the last two Slams, but as the 5/1 bookies’ pick can she finally get over the line in Melbourne?
The field remains extremely competitive, with US Open champion, Bianca Andreescu 7/1 to win the title, while 2019 champion, Naomi Osaka is priced at 10/1to defend her Melbourne crown. Former finalist, Simona Halep (9/1) will again be there or thereabouts as she bids for her first title in Melbourne; last year’s finalist, Petra Kvitova is at a sizeable 25/1 to go one step better in 2020, while top-10 stars, Karolina Pliskova (12/1) and Elina Svitolina (16/1) will continue their hunt for a maiden major title in Australia.