Australian Open 2020 - The Legends will Prevail

The discussion around Australia now rightly centres on the current bushfires and there have been calls to postpone the Australian Open with a number of players complaining about conditions on court in the lead up to this tournament. However, as of yet, there has been no official announcement delaying the tournament and it looks like we are set for the first grand slam of the tennis calendar. I am going to start this off with a look at the WTA side of the draw. The recent WTA Finals was blighted by injuries and pull outs but some terrific tennis seen world number one Ashleigh Barty prevail as the champion. 

We are the Champions. Osaka and Djokovic in 2019.
Picture: express.co.uk


Intensely competitive but Serena ready to emerge from the pack 

Serena Williams recently ended her three year title drought with victory in Auckland. This was her first tournament win since the 2017 Australian Open and I believe she is primed for another grand slam victory. The 23 time grand slam winner will be aided by the recent withdrawal of Bianca Andreescu who defeated her in the final of the US Open last year. I have great faith that the Canadian is going to become a real star in the game but she is blighted with an injury sustained in the season ending WTA Finals and has pulled out. The rest of the pack still has some leading names and this tournament is going to be as open as last year's grand slams with over ten players capable of winning. 

2019 champion Naomi Osaka struggled for form at times last season but regrouped towards the end of the year and will not give up her title without a fight after beating Kvitova in the final last year. World number one and home favourite Ashleigh Barty became the main star in the absence of Williams' best form last season and should improve on her quarter final finish here in 2019. Pliskova, the world number two and Simona Halep, the world number four will go far in the tournament and can play to a high level on any surface. 

Two dark horses to watch out for are 18 year old Amanda Anisimova (33/1) who reached the 4th round last year and Coco Gauff (40/1) who is still just 15 but is a big fans favourite where ever she goes. My tip is for Serena (4/1) to clean up and add number 24 to her grand slam haul. 

Serena was champion here in 2017.
Picture: zimbio.com


Surprise! - Winner likely to come from the top three - again. 

Since 2015, only one grand slam final has not featured one of the three amigos. Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray are the only two players to pick up a grand slam in that time. If you would like to go back further, only eight grand slams since 2005 have not been won by Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal. The chasing pack looks to be closing the gap but have just failed to get over the line thus far. I cannot see this changing in Australia. Djokovic and Nadal proved they are still the ones to beat leading their respective countries to the final of the ATP cup where Serbia and Djokovic prevailed. The same two players contested the 2019 final which Djokovic won in straight sets. As a matter of interest, Nadal has now lost nine straight hard court matches to Djokovic. The World number one is a clay court specialist but he will reach the quarters at the very least, injuries permitting. He has just one victory here, in 2009, defeating Federer in a five set epic. 

I believe the winner will come from Djokovic (5/4) or Federer (11/1). Despite his number two ranking, Djokovic has been like a machine in recent seasons and his win over Federer in Wimbledon last season will be in the history books until the end of time. Djokovic has a record seven titles here leading Federer by just one. Federer is well rested having not officially played since the ATP finals where he beat the Serb to advance from the group stage. He is now 38 but his performances last season have shown he may still have one more last season at the top in him. Do not back against the world number three. 

Let us not disregard any of the other contenders. Medvedev (8/1) was arguably the best player in the second half of the season on hard courts while Stefanos Tsitsipas (12/1) is slowly starting to mature in to a top player and won the recent ATP finals. He also beat Federer here last season but I do not think he is quite ready just yet. Dominic Thiem (18/1) is stronger on clay while it is anyone's guess when Nick Krygios will fulfill his potential and win a grand slam. 

I pick out three dark horses if they compete due to injuries or any other reason. Andrey Rublev (66/1) is making a bit of noise in the game recently, 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka (66/1) has been plagued by injuries but has shown he is at the level of the top three in the past and last year's quarter finalist Milos Raonic (125/1) is one to watch. 

Iconic. Federer, Nadal and Djokovic.
Picture: tennisworldusa.org


Who are you tipping? 

I am failing to pick between Federer and Djokovic but I am convinced it will be one of the two. It could be a fairytale start to the season for Serena Williams. Do you agree? Let me know who you think will be the king and queen of tennis in Australia 2020. Drop a comment ↓ or find MacTíreSports on Facebook

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