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Australian Open

Brad King
by Brad King
Australian Open 2022

The first Grand Slam event of the tennis season is here, as the start of the Australian Open kickstarts the big events for the biggest stars in the game. Last year was an unpredictable one for women’s tennis, with teenager Emma Raducanu ending the year with success in the US Open. Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic won three of the four Grand Slams available in the men's half of the draw.

Action Down Under Kicks Off Grand Slam Season

As is the case every year, the first Grand Slam of the season takes place in Australia. The Australian Open takes place at Melbourne Park, which has hosted the prestigious event since 1972.

It has been played on a hard court since 1988, and some of the best players in the history of the game have won the Slam throughout its history. This year’s event will get underway on Monday, 17th January, with the finals taking place on Sunday, 30th January.

History & Past Winners

 2023 Australian OpenThe Australian Open was first competed in 1972, with this year’s event being the 110th occasion that it has been staged. Melbourne has been the host city of the event since 1972. Between the first edition and 1972, five cities played host to the Australian Open. Sydney hosted the Slam on 17 occasions, while Adelaide, Brisbane, and Perth also had the opportunity to host the prestigious event. It hasn’t always been held in Australia either, as it has been held in New Zealand on two occasions. Christchurch hosted the event in 1906, while Hastings was the most recent city in New Zealand to host the event in 1912.

There hasn’t been a more dominant player in the Open Era than Novak Djokovic. The current world number one has won the Grand Slam on nine occasions and will be looking for a record-extending fourth consecutive win Down Under in the Open Era this year. Roy Emerson holds the record for most men’s wins in the Amateur era, having won on five occasions.

Serena Williams holds the record for the most wins in the Open Era in the women’s Australian Open. The legendary American has won seven titles during her career, which is the same number as Margaret Court, who won seven during the Amateur Era. Naomi Osaka has won two of the previous three women’s titles at the Grand Slam.

Novak Djokovic Saga

Much of the build-up for the 2023 Australian Open has been dominated by the Novak Djokovic saga. The world number one travelled to Australia believing that he had been granted a medical exemption from the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination that is needed to enter Australia. However, on 5th January, he was detained by the Australian Border Force, as they didn’t believe that he met the requirements as an unvaccinated traveller into the country, and his visa was subsequently cancelled.

The eyes of the world were on Australia following that decision, as Djokovic was placed into an immigration detention hotel until a hearing took place to decide whether the Serbian would be able to stay in the country. On the 10th of January, it was announced that the Federal Circuit and Family Court had ruled in favour of the reigning Australian Open champion, meaning that he could stay in the country and compete in the Grand Slam. However, this decision could yet be overturned by the government.

Betting Favourites For Australian Open 2023

The betting markets for the men’s and women’s Australian Open have been open for the past 12 months. Unsurprisingly, the men’s side of the draw is dominated by 20-time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic. His price drifted slightly when it was unconfirmed whether the Serb would be the playing, but he is now the outright favourite to win a record 21st Grand Slam.

That success would put him one clear of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Daniil Medvedev is also a solid second favourite in the betting, as the Russian got his first taste of Grand Slam success when beating Djokovic in the final of the US Open last year. ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev and 20-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal are also single-digit prices in the tennis betting markets.

The battle for the women’s Australian Open title looks like a more competitive affair. Hometown favourite Ashleigh Barty is the current star at the top of the betting, as the Aussie looks to win a third Grand Slam title after victories at the French Open and Wimbledon. However, the 25-year-old has only reached the semi-finals once in the past three years.

Naomi Osaka has dominated this event in previous years with wins in two of the previous three editions and should be the main contender once again. Emma Raducanu may once again be a surprise package after winning the US Open, while top-ranked players Aryna Sabalenka and Simona Halep both have the ability to go far.

Australian Open 2023 Predictions

Medvedev looks to be the value selection in the men’s side of the draw. The impact of Djokovic being away from the court may have a prolonged impact on his performance, and the Russian looks primed to add to his Grand Slam success at the end of last season. In the women’s draw, we like the chance of Garbine Muguruza. The Spanish star was runner-up at the Australian Open in 2020 and looks to have a good chance of adding a third Grand Slam success Down Under.

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