The first grand slam tournament of the season is here! The long waiting is over. From Monday, we will be glued to the screens and enjoy the spectacular tennis. Finally, we will also see fans in the stands (not as usual as it seems). That will add to the experience we were waiting for so long.
Fingers crossed that nothing that could take the tennis away from us will happen.
The Australian Open 2021 can be one of the most fantastic tennis tournaments ever. The thirsty tennis fans will be all over the social networks discussing, arguing, and rooting. So, let us kick off the discussions with our predictions of winners.
Australian Open 2021 Men’s Singles draw:
Australian Open 2020 winner: Djokovic (def. Thiem 6:4 4:6 2:6 6:3 6:4)
Our pre-season Australian Open 2021 Winner pick: Djokovic
Readers poll: (as of 02/06/2021) Nadal 35%, Djokovic 32%, Thiem 10% – for actual results, go here.
Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal are the usual suspects in any Grand Slam tournament (I would also mention Federer, but he is with family).
With all respect to the Spaniard, the Melbourne belongs to Djokovic. Rafa seems to be struggling with some health issues (re his surprising withdrawal from the first match of the ATP Cup), and overall he did not outperform in Australia in the last few years.
Novak Djokovic is defending champion of 2020 and 2019. He won the Australian Open eight times already with three successive wins in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Can he repeat the hattrick? Of course, he can.
That means just one thing. Novak Djokovic is the biggest favorite to win Australian Open again.
However, I see some hurdles he needs to overcome. The first and most important is his mental state.
He seems too distracted with the reaction of the outside world in the past months. Will he be able to focus just on the play? I have my doubts.
The second hurdle is young and hungry players. I am sure that Novak will beat Nadal nine of ten times in Melbourne, but can he lose with Thiem, Tsitsipas, Medvedev, Rublev, or even Zverev?
Yes, he can.
Thiem was very close last year in Melbourne. And all five guys mentioned above can beat him under some conditions. But will those conditions be right in the next two weeks?
I do not think so.
I watched the ATP Cup closely to get the feeling about all the players. I like the way how Medvedev played. I was disappointed by Thiem and surprised again by Rublev. However, I was most impressed by Djokovic. He was able to withstand challenging moments in games. He serves well and reached important victories so far.
That means just one thing.
My winner pick: Djokovic
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Australian Open 2021 Ladies Singles draw:
Australian Open 2021 winner: Kenin (def. Muguruza 4:6 6:2 6:2)
Our pre-season Australian Open 2021 Winner pick: Osaka
Readers poll: (as of 02/02/2021) Sabalenka 25%, Osaka 25%, Halep 9%, Serena Williams 9% – for actual results, go here.
I could start with writing down thirty names from WTA Top 100 standing. And that would not mean I am not missing the next winner of the Australian Open 2021.
Last year we were all caught by surprise by Sofie Kenin. This year we can be caught by surprise again.
Our readers prefer Aryna Sabalenka, and I am not surprised at all.
She is in the top 10, and she played outstanding tennis in October and November 2020. She also played great in the first tournament of the season in Abu Dhabi.
However, she lost in the first round of the Gippsland Trophy on Tuesday. That forced me to raise my eyebrows.
Therefore, my main favorites are Barty, Osaka, and Halep.
Simone Halep can win any three sets match (we saw it in Adelaide a week ago), but I think this is not her surface. Osaka is excellent, but too many endorsements and deals can impact her practice routine.
That leaves me with Ashleigh Barty.
Barty looked great in the week before the tournament. She had a long break for eight months and is full of energy. Moreover, she had better preparation conditions as she did not need to stay two weeks in quarantine.
The support of the home audience can not be neglected too.
My winner pick: Barty