According to BetUS sportsbook, Novak Djokovic is the player to beat at the Australian Open. He’s gunning for a 10th title Down Under and what would be a record 21st Grand Slam title (he’s currently tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal).
A win in Melbourne would see Djokovic pull ahead of his biggest rivals and set his case for the GOAT debate. The 2022 Australian Open is set to get underway on Jan. 17. Australia has some of the toughest covid-19 mandates in the world and the Australian Open, in keeping with its country’s policy, will require players to be vaccinated. No vaccine, no play.
This policy casts some doubt on Djokovic’s participation. The Serbian has been a vocal skeptic about the vaccine and he refuses to divulge his vaccination status.
The tournament remains hopeful that Djokovic returns to Melbourne Park as tennis betting online markets continue to favor him to win the 2022 Aussie Open. Djokovic announced his withdrawal from the ATP Cup, a prelim event for the Australian Open scheduled for first week of January.
This sudden move hasn’t been explained by the ATP and, as far as anyone can tell, Djokovic isn’t dealing with any injuries. Thus, the doubt about Djokovic’s participation grows.
The Australian Open draw features 128 players from around the world, all of which will fancy their chances to lift the trophy. That opportunity will certainly improve in Djokovic’s absence. However, even with the 20-time Grand Slam champion in attendance, he’s not exactly a dead-cert to win. After all, Djokovic lost to Daniil Medvedev in the U.S. Open final in 2021 – the last major of the year.
Below, we look at the top five contenders that could challenge for the Australian Open title, complete with the latest tennis odds.
Australian Open Betting Preview – Top Five Faves
Novak Djokovic +120
World No.1 Djokovic is the nine-time Australian Open champion and the three-time defending champion in Melbourne. It’s no surprise that he’s priced as the short-odds-on favorite to win his 10th Aussie Open at +120. Last season, Djokovic beat Medvedev in the the straight-set finale, 7–5, 6–2, 6–2.
There has been speculation over Djokovic’s participation in the Australian Open, which starts on 17 Jan, with the 34-year-old repeatedly declining to say if he has been inoculated against #COVID19, having previously expressed hesitancy over being jabbed https://t.co/l8yE0dz1pf
— Sky News (@SkyNews) December 30, 2021
Daniil Medvedev +225
The Russian star is fresh off of his maiden grand slam title after beating Djokovic in the U.S. Open final. Medvedev has made three major finals in his career, losing twice. In 2019, Medvedev lost to Rafael Nadal at the U.S. Open final, and in 2021 he lost to Djokovic at the Aussie Open. The third time was the charm.
As the current world No. 2, he falls on the opposite side of the draw to Djokovic. That’s an advantage because it means would avoid the Serbian starlet until the ultimate round.
Alexander Zverev +300
Germany’s Alexander Zverev has been knocking on the door of Grand Slam glory for some time.
Since he burst onto the scene, he’s been pegged for greatness. It’s taken a bit longer than expected for Zverev to take that leap. It seems the results have been better on hard courts, reaching the Australian Open semis in 2020 and the U.S. Open final later that same year.
Zverev had some noteworthy results in 2021, including winning the Olympic gold medal after beating Djokovic in the semis.
He also won the ATP Tour finals for the second time in his career, beating Medvedev, 6-4, 6-4. Zverev is the third-shortest price, but a bit of longshot considering he’s never pulled off the feat.
Rafael Nadal +1200
Spain’s Rafael Nadal’s odds drifted up to +1200 in recent weeks – a reaction to a combination of question marks. Nadal is coming off a foot injury that ended his season prematurely.
A tentative comeback at the Abu Dhabi Exhibition event in December ended with mixed results.
Unlike Djokovic, Nadal is vaccinated and recent reports suggest the Spaniard is Australia-bound. He is slated to warm up at the ATP 250 event in Melbourne, and how well he performs in his first event since last summer will determine the direction his odds take to win this tournament..
Reports: Rafael Nadal to fly to Australia tomorrow, on track for Australian Open 2022 participation https://t.co/bgZtFlcdCR
— Sportskeeda Tennis (@SK__Tennis) December 30, 2021
Stefanos Tsitsipas +1200
Rising Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas is amongst the top favorites to win the Australian Open, level with Nadal at +1200.
Tsitsipas upset Nadal in the Australian Open quarterfinals, storming back from two sets down to dismiss the Spaniard in shocking fashion. Tsitsipas’ 2021 campaign lost steam in the second half due to an elbow injury. It remains to be seen where his form is as he begins his Australian Open warm-up at the ATP Cup.
The Rest of the Field
It’s impossible to know exactly who will be competing at the first grand slam event of the 2022 ATP season until the draw is revealed on the Friday of the weekend before the first day of the tournament.
Outsiders that could make a run Down Under include Andrey Rublev (+3000), Matteo Berrettini (+4000), Andy Murray (+5000), Casper Ruud (+5000), Nick Kyrgios (+6000), Hubert Hurkacz (+6000) and Grigor Dimitrov (+10000), to name a few.