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Two weeks ago
Jan 10, 2019

2019 ATP Australian Open betting preview

Men’s Australian Open winner odds: The favourites

Will Roger Federer repeat last year’s success?

Can any outriders cause an upset?

2019 ATP Australian Open betting preview

Credit: Getty Images

With the Australian Open getting underway on Monday, our tennis expert Dan Weston assesses the conditions and contenders for glory in the men’s singles event. Is there any value in the men’s Australian Open winner odds? Read on to find out what the stats suggest.

Assessing venue conditions

The top Tennis players from around the world gather at Melbourne Park over the coming fortnight to compete in the first Grand Slam tournament of 2019, and the men’s competition has some fascinating dynamics to consider in advance of Thursday’s draw.

Conditions at the venue are likely to be pretty medium-paced for hard court, with 63.8% of service points won across the last three years, compared to 63.7% across all ATP hard court tournaments in the same time period. While some commentators assert that conditions are on the quicker side of medium-paced, it is quite possible that some courts play quicker than others at the venue, although it is difficult to confirm this statistically.

World number one Djokovic boasts the best hard court data over the last 12 months

However, given the overall medium-paced court speed data, it’s reasonable to consider that conditions are unlikely to assist any player dynamic in general, and treating each player on their relative merits is logical.

Novak Djokovic: A worthy favourite?

With this in mind, Novak Djokovic looks a worthy tournament favourite, as the table below illustrates. The data below demonstrates the 12 month hard court service and return points won, plus combined percentages for the ten highest-ranked players competing in the tournament (fifth ranked Juan Martin Del Potro is injured).

Also included is each player’s 12 month record against top 10 opposition. All data is correct at January 9, 2019.

Australian Open 2019

Player

Rank

12 Month Hard Court Service Pts Won %

12 Month Hard Court Return Pts Won %

12 Month Hard Court Combined Pts Won %

12 Month Record vs Top 10 Opposition

 

 

 

 

 

 

Novak Djokovic

1

67.6

41.7

109.3

17-5

Rafa Nadal

2

65.9

41.0

106.9

10-4

Roger Federer

3

70.4

38.1

108.5

6-6

Alexander Zverev

4

67.8

39.4

107.2

10-7

Kevin Anderson

6

70.6

33.9

104.5

7-8

Marin Cilic

7

68.7

39.2

107.9

5-8

Dominic Thiem

8

68.3

37.7

106.0

5-7

Kei Nishikori

9

64.2

39.2

103.4

7-10

John Isner

10

72.6

30.6

103.2

3-9

Karen Khachanov

11

69.2

35.3

104.5

7-10

World number one Djokovic boasts the best hard court data over the last 12 months, and it is also worth noting that his improvement in the second half of 2018 is demonstrated by his six-month hard court combined percentage rising even higher, to 110.3%.

This level is truly elite, and considerably better than any rival can manage over the last six months - while Djokovic’s current price (2.15*) isn’t as short as he was for hard court Grand Slam tournaments at his peak, his data suggests his current level is similar.

Last year’s champion Roger Federer

Given the last two years in Melbourne, Roger Federer (5.79*), who has lifted the last two trophies here after failing to do so since 2010, is a justifable second favourite for the tournament.

The Swiss world number three is now 37 years of age, and his 12-month data shows only a slight, and slow, decline from his best levels.

However, his six-month hard court combined data (106.0%) shows a further drop-off and it is quite conceivable that he may continue this gradual decline. It is also pertinent to make the point that the arduous best of five set format may not suit the veteran, and his record against top 10 opponents isn’t positive either.

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How will Rafael Nadal fare on hard court?

The final player priced below 10.00 is Rafael Nadal (9.78*), and there is a strong argument to suggest that the market is over-rating the Spaniard.

The King of Clay is exactly that these days, with a solid but unspectacular record on hard court, and in addition, has fitness issues to boot. Nadal ended his 2018 season early, following defeat at the US Open, and after a three-set defeat against Kevin Anderson in the Abu Dhabi exhbition at the start of this season, Nadal subsequently withdrew from Brisbane and hasn’t played since.

On this basis, it is difficult to consider Nadal a realistic threat in the tournament, although his record against top 10 opponents aptly illustrates his incredible will to win.

Can the outriders cause an upset?

Priced marginally bigger than Nadal is Alexander Zverev (11.49*) and there’s certainly a reasonable argument to make the German more of a contender than his Spanish rival, and possibly even more of a threat than the current version of Federer. Zverev has a poor record in Grand Slams, but will go into the event in confidence following his win at the ATP Tour finals - perhaps he is the men’s equivalent of Elina Svitolina?

The top-heavy nature of the men’s field is shown by no other player being priced below 20.00, although there are a number of outsiders worthy of discussion.

Andy Murray has been runner-up five times here, although if he struggled to lift the trophy at his peak, it’s extremely dubious that he would have any chance whatsoever following his injury issues, and considerable statistical downgrade

Andy Murray (42.27*) has been runner-up five times here, although if he struggled to lift the trophy at his peak, it’s extremely dubious that he would have any chance whatsoever following his injury issues, and considerable statistical downgrade. It would be a surprise if Murray was even able to reach the latter stages.

Several other high-profile players have struggled in the last year, and these include Stan Wawrinka (37.69*) and Grigor Dimitrov, who looks very short indeed at 23.89*. Both players’ 12-month stats do not give any confidence to their potential chances in Melbourne during the coming fortnight.

Of the remaining top ten players not discussed, Marin Cilic (33.09*) has strong hard court data but tends to struggle against elite-level opposition, while Dominic Thiem is solid enough, without being top-level on hard court - his chances of a Slam will focus more on clay at the French Open.

Kei Nishikori looks like he’s improving, and getting back to somewhere close to his best level after long-term injury, but his serve tends to have limitations against the best, while the veteran big-server, John Isner (79.04*) can test any player on his day but has obvious deficiencies on return.

Young prospect Karen Khachanov (23.89*) leads a number of young players who look capable of at least a relatively strong showing, with the Russian having rapidly improving hard court data, alongside the Croat, Borna Coric (37.69*).

Statistically, fellow Next-Gen players Stefanos Tsitsipas and Hyeon Chung have less chance - Tsitsipas’ hard court data isn’t highly impressive, despite recording a decent win percentage, while Chung doesn’t look fit currently, and had a dire defeat to Rubin Statham in the Auckland warm-up event this week.

Perhaps Daniil Medvedev (28.49*) who has form and huge ability upside, could join Khachanov and Coric with a strong showing - the Russian has high potential and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he was able to break the top 10 this season, particularly if he could improve on clay.

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