Roundtable: Who will win the men’s Australian Open title?
We asked our journalists to pick their winner for the men’s Australian Open title – and, big relief, there are other entrants besides Novak Djokovic.
- Watch all courts and all matches of the Australian Open live on Eurosport and Eurosport Player
- Australian Open 2020 schedule
- Who could the six favourites face on their path to glory in Melbourne?
If Nick Kyrgios ever decides that he wants to win a Grand Slam, he will win one straight away. And Kyrgios might actually be motivated to do just that in Melbourne given the emotional backdrop to the tournament. It’s a long shot, admittedly, but stranger things have happened and there’s no question at all that he has the talent. If he gets to the fourth round he faces Nadal, who often brings the best out of Kyrgios due to their antipathy. That could be the performance which propels him to his first Slam title. Or not.
Novak Djokovic has was won it seven times. He has won NINETEEN consecutive sets on hard courts against closest challenger Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer is getting no younger. The Next Gen contingent – some of them edging towards 27 – are not good enough to land a glove on the above three. Djokovic is the best of the above three.
If anyone is going to crack the Big Three before their belated retirement, Stefanos Tsitsipas looks the best bet. He’s beaten Djokovic in both their encounters on outdoor hard courts, knocked out Federer in Melbourne last year and is the elite club of players to beat Nadal on clay. OK, his record against the Spaniard is otherwise alarming – played six, won one – but Nadal is on the opposite side of the draw. If Tsitsipas takes care of Djokovic and Federer in the quarters and semis (not the easiest task, admittedly), he’ll just have to hope someone else is waiting for him in the final.
Look the favourite may well be Novak Djokovic, but frankly that's a boring pick. This is the year that a next-gen kid is going to break through and take a grand slam, right under the noses of the Big Three. I'm going to go with Andrey Rublev. It's a slightly out of the box pick but Rublev won two titles in the warm-up for Melbourne so he's in form. Plus he is in the quarter of the draw that avoids Djokovic, Nadal and Federer, that's got to count for something right?
While it would be nice to see Roger Federer win in Melbourne one last time or to see the likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas or Daniil Medvedev make a breakthrough and win their maiden Slam, it's impossible to look past Novak Djokovic winning the title once again. Federer could well go into the tournament undercooked, having skipped his traditional pre-Australian Open warm-ups after a lengthy post-season tour of Latin America last year and Rafael Nadal is simply not equipped to compete with Djokovic on hard courts, having lost 19 straight sets to the Serb on the surface. Djokovic's dismantling of Nadal in the ATP Cup was ominous.
He’s the clear favourite for a reason and I can’t see past Novak Djokovic. The usual suspects will cause him problems no doubt, but the conditions and court speed suits Djokovic’s game so well that it’ll take somebody right at the very top of their game to beat him, and it doesn’t appear that any of the other world’s best players are at that level right now.
A wildcard pick, but having got that maiden Masters title last year at Indian Wells, before getting to the French Open final, again, Dominic Thiem is ready to make that step up. The draw has been kind, with Thiem not in the same half of the draw as Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. Stefanos Tsitsipas to knock out the champion before a defeat in the final against Thiem.
It’s hard to look past Novak Djokovic. I mean, even an absolute dunce who couldn’t care less about the sport on an secluded island somewhere would know the Serbian is going to make it eight in Melbourne.
Nick Kyrgios could be a dark horse in this race. He's shown his softer side in recent weeks, speaking about the recent bush fires which have ravaged Australia and how high the stakes are for him, this time round. He's playing a home tournament and the crowd will certainly be behind him, now more than ever, and he always has it in him to do well if he can get past his emotions - and Rafa Nadal in the fourth round. And failing that? Well, it's clearly Novak Djokovic.