Tennis

Players who can win the Australian Open

The first tennis Grand Slam of the year is fast approaching as the world’s top players battle for glory. Ivan Smyth picks the men in contention to lift the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup.

  1. Novak Djokovic

The Serbian enters this tournament as the favourite after an outstanding end to his 2018 season. The number one ranked player in the world returned from injury to win Wimbledon and the US Open. He suffered defeat in Doha last week, losing to an inspired Roberto Bautista Agut. The 5-set format suits his game and it is hard to see many players who could potentially upset the 14-time Grand Slam Champion. He is aiming to win a record seventh Australian Open title and he will have a major say in who reigns supreme in two weeks’ time.

Novak Djokovic
Can Novak Djokovic win a record seventh Australian Open title? Photo By: PA
  1. Roger Federer

The 20-time Grand Slam champion comes in to this tournament in impressive form after helping Switzerland secure the Hopman Cup. He was undefeated throughout the competition where he defeated Cameron Norrie, Stefanos Tsitsipas and rival Sascha Zverev. Federer is tied with Djokovic and Roy Emerson (who won six titles from 1961-1967) on six Australian Open victories. He struggled towards the end of last season but if he is physically fit then he can create further history.

Roger Federer
Can Roger Federer win three titles Australian Open titles in a row? Sourced Via: Sky Sports
  1. Marin Cilic

It seems like now or never for the 6ft 6in Croat to claim an elusive Astralian Open crown. He is a Grand Slam champion after winning the US Open in 2014. He reached the final last year where he lost out to Roger Federer in a classic final. The 30-year-old reached three Grand Slam quarter finals and helped Croatia to win the Davis Cup in 2018. The fast courts Down Under suit his hard-hitting game and nobody would begrudge him another Slam. He faces a tough first round against Bernard Tomic, but he can go deep once more.

 

  1. Rafael Nadal

The 32-year-old Spaniard will always enter a Grand Slam among the favourites. He has been disrupted by injuries since losing to Novak Djokovic in an epic semi-final at Wimbledon. He has yet to play a competitive game in 2019 which is far from ideal preparation. The 2009 Australian Open champion faces a tough draw in which he may have to face Alex Di Minaur, Kyle Edmund, Kevin Anderson, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic to win his 18th Grand Slam title. It would be one of his most impressive Grand Slam victories if he could achieve the feat. If anyone can do it then Nadal can.

Rafael Nadal
Will Nadal win the first Grand Slam of the year? Photo By: Getty.
  1. Sascha Zverev

The talented German has yet to progress beyond the quarter final of a Slam. The 21-year-old is one of the biggest prospects in the game, but he needs to serve big and improve his forehand. Since 2005 only two players outside of Djokovic, Federer or Rafael Nadal have won the Australian Open. Zverev may well be the best bet to break those player’s hold on the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup. He has not yet progressed beyond the third round of this competition, but he beat both Djokovic and Federer and the ATP Tour Finals last November.

  1. Karen Khachanov

The Russian is an outside bet to win his first ever Grad Slam title. His big serve and large forehand are well suited to the Australian courts. He defeated four top 10 players to win the Paris Masters last November: John Isner, Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic. The no.10 seed has not progressed beyond the second round in this tournament before, but he should rectify that stat this year. He can beat any player on his day.

 

The Australian Open runs from 14-27th January. It promises to be a fantastic tournament with plenty of top-quality action in the men’s and women’s draws.

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5 Men who can win the Men’s Singles title at Wimbledon

Roger Federer

The King of Grass is looking to retain his Wimbledon crown that he won so emphatically in 2017. He has won this title a record eight times and will be the man to beat when the tournament commences on Monday, July 2nd. He is seeded 1 at Wimbledon and looks to be placed on the easier side of the draw. Despite losing the final at Halle last week, it will take a special performance to beat Federer at his favourite tournament.

Roger Federer
Can anyone stop Federer retaining his Wimbledon title? Sourced Via: Sky Sports

Marin Cilic

The big serving Croat is well built for the grass and reached the final last year. He suffered from blisters and was easily beaten by Federer. He enters the tournament having won the Aegon Championships at the Queens tennis club last weekend. He reached the final of the Australian Open and the quarter finals at Roland Garros. He is in the same side of the draw as Federer but he will not fear facing the defending champion. Winning that match could be the key to winning Wimbledon.

Novak Djokovic

The champion of 2011 and 2014 returns to Wimbledon with hope. He lost the final of the Aegon Championships where despite having match point, he lost to Marin Cilic. His run to the final is encouraging news but will he be able to last two weeks and beat the big guys? He has shown before that he has the game to win but question marks still remain. If he i physically right then he can be the king of SW19 once more.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic won his second of hi Wimbledon titles in 2014. Can he win his third this year? Photo By: PA

Rafael Nadal

Nadal did not play in a grass court tournament and instead chose to play exhibition matches against Lucas Pouille and Matthew Ebden. He beat Ebden but lost to Pouille. There are question marks hanging over his fitness and he has exited Wimbledon early for the past few years. He lost to an inspired Gilles Muller last year but from the period 2006-2011 he reched the Wimbledon final every year with the exception of 2009 when he did not play. He has the potential but can he banish the recent losses at SW19.

Rafael Nadal
Can Nadal bring his clay court form to the grass? Photo By: Getty

Juan Martin Del Potro

Del Potro is a real fans’ favourite in Southwest London and reached the semi-final in 2013 where he lost an epic match to Novak Djokovic. He has not had as much success in recent years but he has enjoyed a decent season so far, reaching the semi-final at Roland Garros. He suffered a one-sided defeat to Novak Djokovic at Queens last week and has a history of injuries. He is placed on the tougher side of the draw but he is a dark horse.

Juan Martin Del Potro
Can Juan Martin Del Potro be the dark horse this year? Photo By: Getty

Nick Kyrgios

The talented Aussie has a game perfectly built for grass. He beat Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon in 2014 and he reached the semi-final of the Aegon Championships last week. His temperament is questionable to say the least but if he performs to his potential then he will be a match for anyone. His biggest opponent is himself.