Keep an eye on these players in Melbourne

Henry

The first Grand Slam of the new year begins in earnest on Sunday when the Australian Open is played in Melbourne.

Novak Djokovic and Aryna Sabalenka are the defending champions, but it’s a new year and a new tournament and anyone can walk away with the ultimate laurels.

Here are a few players whose progress you can keep an eye on in Melbourne.

  • Men:

Novak Djokovic

Yes, it was mentioned in the previous paragraphs that anything can happen in 2024. The only problem with this statement is that Novak Djokovic still has the same goal as in 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2023: He wants to win.

The 36-year-old Serbian boasts ten Australian Open titles and he undoubtedly has his sights set on an 11th.

He may struggle with a sore wrist in the run-up to the tournament, but he has shown many times before that an injury does not deter him.

Needless to say, he is the top ranked player in the men’s division and he has been persuaded to add another chapter of success to his tennis story.

Carlos Alcaraz

The 20-year-old Carlos Alcaraz’s name always comes up when talking about favourites: He is young, fit, agile and he also knows how to win the big games.

He played a bar shot against Djokovic in the Wimbledon final last year and the fast courts of Australia should fit his power play like a glove.

Alex de Minaur

An Australian playing in front of his home crowd certainly doesn’t need much encouragement to do well.

In addition to the enthusiastic support of the spectators, the 24-year-old Sydney native also does not play bad tennis at all.

He is currently ranked tenth in the ATP rankings and he recently squared off with Djokovic in Perth. It was the Serbian’s first defeat in 43 matches on Australian soil and he praised his young opponent for his nimble play.

De Minaur also just finished playing Alcaraz in an exhibition match.

  • Women:

Iga Swiatek

Iga Swiatek is the world’s leading player and she already boasts four Grand Slam titles in her young career, but she has never been able to tie the knot in Australia.

Yes, she ceded her top player status to Aryna Sabalenka for a while last year, but she won all five of her singles matches in the United Cup leading up to the Open.

The Pole will not simply be stopped in Melbourne.

Elena Rybakina

The 24-year-old lost to Sabalenka in the final of the tournament last year with 6-3, 3-6 and 4-6, but she will give everything to hang up the signs this year.

In the final of the Brisbane International tournament, she finished with the very Sabalenka at a trot.

A final score of 6-0 and 6-3 sent a clear warning to her opponents.

Naomi Osaka

One can probably never eliminate a two-time champion when talking about favorite players, but after her tennis break, you don’t quite know what to expect from Naomi Osaka.

The 26-year-old Japanese player used to struggle with her mental health, while she also recently became a mother.

She lost her latest match in Brisbane 6-3, 6-7, 4-6 to Karolina Pliskova, while there is also uncertainty about her fitness after she withdrew from an exhibition match.

Top Rated Men:

  1. Novak Djokovic (Serbia)
  2. Carlos Alcaraz (Spain)
  3. Daniil Medvedev (Russia)
  4. Jannik Sinner (Italy)
  5. Andrey Rublev (Russia)
  6. Alexander Zverev (Germany)
  7. Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece)
  8. Holger Rune (Denmark)
  9. Hubert Hurkacz (Poland)
  10. Alex de Minaur (Australia)

Top Rated Women:

  1. Iga Swiatek (Poland)
  2. Aryna Sabalenka (Belarus)
  3. Elena Rybakina (Kazakhstan)
  4. Coco Gauff (USA)
  5. Jessica Pegula (USA)
  6. Our Jabeur (Tunisia)
  7. Marketa Vondrousova (Czech Republic)
  8. Maria Sakkari (Greece)
  9. Barbora Krejcikova (Czech Republic)
  10. Beatrix Haddad Maia (Brazil).