One of tennis’s biggest events begins Monday with the Australian Open kicking off in Melbourne. In the men’s division, we’ll see typical heavyweights Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic duking it out.
On the women’s side, Naomi Osaka is looking to land a third Open victory. She’ll have to get through the hometown choice and betting favorite, Australian Ashleigh Barty, to do so.
The lead up to this year’s event was certainly not without drama. Top seeded Djokovic’s participation status remained in limbo due to the country’s COVID quarantine rules for unvaccinated travelers. After receiving an exemption to be cleared for action, it looks as though the Serbian will be able to compete.
As for the women, Barty is looking to become the first Australian-born winner in more than four decades. She appears to have a clear path, but will have to get through some stiff competition in order to land the crown.
Australian Open Men’s Preview
Novak Djokovic is the favorite on the men’s side after originally looking like he’d have to sit out amid Australia’s COVID protocols. With the superstar in the field, though, he’s to top choice to win. Djokovic currently boasts +130 odds at SugarHouse.
Djokovic has seen success in Melbourne before, posting an 82-8 career record in the Australian Open. The world’s No. 1 player has won nine Aussie Open titles and will look for a 10th this January.
While he is the overwhelming favorite, the fact that he’s been unable to practice could cause a slow start. With the COVID exemption process taking time to progress, Djokovic wasn’t cleared to enter the country, leading to an absence from warm-ups.
Will that lack of preparation keep the top seed from taking home a title? There are certainly some contenders hoping to unseat him at the top.
One to Watch
Daniil Medvedev is the next most likely tournament winner. The 25-year-old holds +200 odds at SugarHouse and is seeking his first overall victory in the event. Medvedev is 13-5 in Australian Opens after reaching the finals last year.
The Russian’s serve is one of the sport’s best and he’s climbed up to the No. 2 ranking in the world. Only the previously mentioned Djokovic stands in his way.
There is a ton of value here as he expects to go deep into the tournament. A Medvedev win could quickly double your money.
Rafael Nadal hasn’t won an Australian Open title since 2009, but it’s never wise to count the seasoned veteran out. Last year, he made the quarterfinals before falling to Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Nadal has battled through injury of late but will try to get back to championship form next week. He holds +1000 betting odds at SugarHouse, meaning a $100 bet could net a $1,000 profit.
The 36-year-old Spaniard is returning from a foot injury, but looked fantastic in his first appearance back, winning the Melbourne Summer Set. He’s hoping that recent success in Australia continues in the Open.
Australian Open Women’s Preview
Ashleigh Barty is the betting favorite, boasting +250 odds at SugarHouse. The Australian is hoping to bring home her first title in the event while representing her country in front of the home crowd.
Barty is currently the No. 1 player in the world, a ranking she’ll put on the line in next week’s Open. She’s expected to go deep into the tournament, with anything other than a finals appearance likely considered a disappointment.
For her career, Barty is 17-8 in the Aussie Open. She hopes to maintain success and bring home her first Open championship.
One to Watch
Naomi Osaka is Barty’s most formidable foe. The Japanese superstar has fallen to the No. 14 player in the world rankings, but she’s seen a ton of success at this particular tournament.
In fact, Osaka took home the Australian Open title in both 2019 and 2021, posting a 22-4 overall record in the event.
There’s a ton of value if you believe that Osaka can repeat as champion. She currently holds +600 odds at SugarHouse.
Aryna Sabalenka lost to Serena Williams in the fourth round of last year’s Australian Open, but the 23-year-old is looking to advance much deeper this go-round.
The Belarussian experienced her best season to date in 2021, creeping up to the No. 2 world ranking. Now, she has her eyes set on earning her first Australian Open title.
Sabalenka currently holds +1900 odds at SugarHouse online sportsbook.