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Nick Kyrgios is amped for the Australian Open, his home major, and Novak Djokovic is competing at his most successful Grand Slam for the first time since 2021. What more could tennis fans ask for as the 2023 season gets underway? (Sure, Roger Federer, but he’s still retired.)
With help from Universal Tennis INSIGHTS, let’s size up the favorites, players to watch, and the sleeper picks of the 2023 Australian Open men’s singles draw.
2023 Australian Open men's favorites, according to Universal Tennis INSIGHTS
(4) Novak Djokovic - 14%
(6) Felix Auger-Aliassime - 12%
(8) Taylor Fritz - 10%
(7) Daniil Medvedev - 7%
(3) Stefanos Tsitsipas - 7%
(9) Holger Rune - 6%
(12) Alexander Zverev - 6%
(1) Rafael Nadal - 5%
(19) Nick Kyrgios - 4%
(2) Casper Ruud - 4%
Favorite to Win the 2023 Australian Open
(4) Novak Djokovic (UTR Rating 16.27)
No surprise here: Djokovic is yet again the favorite to win the Australian Open title. The 35-year-old is seeking his record-extending 10th Australian Open championships and looking to start where he stopped in 2022. Djokovic finished last year by winning a record-tying sixth Nitto ATP Finals.
INSIGHTS pegs Djokovic at a 14% favorite to stride into double-digit territory in Melbourne. Hard to argue: He’s a combined 18-0 in Australian Open semifinals and finals. And you have to think that this year’s Australian Open will mean more to the Serbian, who missed out on last year’s tournament and could only watch as rival Rafael Nadal came back from two sets down in the final to win his 21st Grand Slam title.
But with another successful two weeks Down Under, Djokovic can tie Nadal and win his 22nd major championship in Melbourne. Djokovic opens against Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena and is slated to meet 27th seed Grigor Dimitrov in the third round.
Most Likely to Make a Deep Run
(1) Rafael Nadal (16.06)
His current level of form might be in question, as Rafael Nadal has lost six of his past seven matches. But count out the 22-time Grand Slam champion and risk looking very foolish in a fortnight's time. The two-time Australian Open champion is the top seed in Melbourne. He’ll get a true test in the opener against Great Britain’s Jack Draper (15.63). The big-serving lefty, No. 40 in the ATP rankings, beat Auger-Aliassime en route to the 2022 US Open third round.
(6) Felix Auger-Aliassime (16.12)
Felix Auger-Aliassime started his career 0-8 in tour-level finals, but the young Canadian certainly turned around his fortunes in 2022. He won four ATP singles titles and helped Canada win the the 2022 ATP Cup and Davis Cup team competitions. His task for 2023? Replicating that success on the Grand Slam stage.
Auger-Aliassime has reached only one major championship semifinal and never been past the quarterfinals in Melbourne. He’ll open against compatriot and Wimbledon doubles champion Vasek Pospisil and could meet three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka in the second round.
Melbourne so far 🎾😎🇦🇺— Félix AugerAliassime (@felixtennis) January 11, 2023
1st 📸: Kelly Defina pic.twitter.com/A5baW3iXG5
(19) Nick Kyrgios (16.05)
Coming off the best season of his career, Kyrgios will be eager to back it up straightaway at his favorite tournament. Last year, the Aussie made his first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon, falling to Djokovic, and reached the US Open quarterfinals for the first time.
Kyrgios hasn’t advanced to that stage at his home Slam since 2015, a streak he’ll try to snap during the next two weeks. He could get a rematch against Djokovic in the Australian Open quarterfinals.
(9) Taylor Fritz (16.04)
Few players should be feeling as confident as Taylor Fritz, who helped Team USA clinch the inaugural United Cup last week with a win over Italy’s Matteo Berrettini (15.79). Fritz went 4-1 in the team competition, also beating Jiri Lehecka of the Czech Republic (15.06), Germany’s Alexander Zverev (15.99), and Hubert Hurkacz of Poland (15.80).
Like Auger-Aliassime, the 25-year-old Fritz will look to take the next step on the biggest stage in tennis. Fritz has never played past the fourth round at the Australian Open and reached his lone major championship quarterfinal last year at Wimbledon.
(3) Stefanos Tsitsipas (16.00)
Is this the year Stefanos Tsitsipas breaks through to the Australian Open final? Thrice a semifinalist, Tsitsipas has yet to make it to the final Sunday in Melbourne. Twice he has fallen to Russian Daniil Medvedev, and in 2019, the year of his memorable four-set takedown of Federer, Tsitsipas lost to Nadal in the semifinals.
But the Greek couldn’t have started 2023 any better. Tsitsipas went 4-0 at the United Cup. He faces Frenchman Quentin Halys in the opening round, and, if the seeds hold, will meet Auger-Aliassime in the quarterfinals and Nadal in the semifinals.
Sleeper Picks to Watch
(12) Alexander Zverev (15.99)
It feels a little funny calling Alexander Zverev a sleeper pick, considering the German's resume. But the 25-year-old is coming off a seven-month injury layoff and dropped all four sets he contested at the United Cup. Maybe, with the spotlight brightly shining on his peers, Zverev finds a way to the final weekend in Melbourne.
(16) Frances Tiafoe (15.76)
Frances Tiafoe, who beat Nadal en route to the 2022 US Open semifinals, will want to solidify that run and show that his flash-in-the-pan days have come and gone. INSIGHTS gives him a 2% chance of winning the title. He could face 10th seed Hurkacz to make the Round of 16.
More on the 2023 Australian Open:
UTR Ratings and INSIGHTS probabilities as of 9 a.m. EST, January 13, 2023.