The Grand Slam season finally gets underway at the beginning of February, as the Australian Open sees the best players from around the world in direct competition. But, which players stand the best chance of winning the respective men's and women's titles this year according to the latest sports betting odds?
Essential Information About the 2021 Australian Open
The 2021 Australian Open gets underway on the 8th of February, with the finals both taking place over the weekend of the 21st of February. However, this year's event is set to be unlike anything that we have seen in the past, as a number of elite players have been forced to pull out of the competition before it even gets underway. All of the players involved have needed to adhere to the strict quarantine measures in place for visitors to Australia, which has led to some criticism from fans as players have been complaining that they haven't been able to leave their hotel rooms.
However, it will also be an exciting moment for the sport, as there will be fans in attendance throughout the event, with limited tickets on offer, which means getting tickets was a gamble, almost like playing online casino games. The competition was set to get underway on the 18th of January but was pushed back due to the pandemic, which means that it started in February for the first time in over 100 years.
History & Past Winners of the Australian Open
This year's event will be the 109th Australian Open but will be the second player on the blue GreenSet surface. Throughout the competition's history, it has been played on a number of different surfaces. It was initially played on grass courts before it was replaced by the hardcourt that has become the standard surface since 1988. Since 2000, only seven players have won the men's tournament, with Novak Djokovic being the most successful player in the history of the Australian Open.
The Serb has won this Grand Slam an astonishing seven times, and in 2021 he will be looking to match the feat that he achieved between 2011 and 2013 by winning three consecutive championships. Roger Federer has also achieved success throughout his career at this Grand Slam, as he has won on six occasions. The Swiss player's last success came in 2018 when he beat Marin Cilic in the final. However, the legendary player will not be competing in this year's event.
The women's draw is always a much more difficult competition to predict, as there have been eight different winners of the Australian Open in the past ten years. Serena Williams has achieved the most success in recent years, as the American has won on seven occasions throughout her career.
However, she remains four titles behind Margaret Court for the most wins at the Australian Open. Other recent winners of the Australian Open include Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki, and Naomi Osaka. Meanwhile, the defending champion coming into the 2021 event is Sofia Kenin, who beat Garbine Muguruza in the final 12 months ago. No defending champion has successfully defended their title since Williams in 2010.
Men's 2021 Australian Open
The men's Australian Open looks straightforward to call, as the defending champion will be the heavy favorite to successfully defend his title. Djokovic's record Down Under is exceptional, as he has won this Grand Slam on seven previous occasions. His chances of winning the event will certainly be increased due to the absence of Federer, along with the fact that Rafael Nadal struggles on the hard courts in Melbourne. Nadal has reached the final on five occasions throughout his career but has only won the Australian Open once.
The leading contenders for Djokovic's title could come in the form of Daniil Medvedev and Dominic Thiem. Thiem has shown over the past 12 months that he is among the leading players for the Grand Slams, as he has reached two finals. The Austrian has beaten in the final 12 months ago before he won his first Grand Slam success later in the year at the US Open. Meanwhile, Medvedev will be looking to improve on his performance from last year, as he was knocked out in the fourth round. However, it is hard to see past the defending champion reclaiming his title.
Women's 2021 Australian Open
The women's draw is typically a much harder one to predict, as there are a number of players that have a credible chance. Naomi Osaka and Ashleigh Barty have both achieved Grand Slam success over the past two years, with Osaka winning the Australian Open back in 2019. Barty's best performance at the Australian Open came in 2020, as she was knocked out at the semi-final stage.
Garbine Muguruza has won two Grand Slam titles to date and will be looking to go one better following her defeat in the final 12 months ago. The Spanish star is certainly the one to follow in the women's draw, as she boasts Grand Slam experience that many others lack. Serena Williams will be finally hoping to match the all-time record of Grand Slams, but she has failed to make it past the quarterfinal stage of the Australian Open since her 2017 success.