Jan 11, 2023
Jan 11, 2023

Australian Open 2023: Men’s Singles preview

Australian Open 2023 Men’s Singles predictions

Who will win the Australian Open Men’s Singles 2023?

Novak Djokovic returns to the Australian Open

Australian Open 2023 Men’s stats and analysis

Australian Open 2023: Men’s Singles preview

The Men’s Singles event at the Australian Open gets underway a week from today, and following his tournament win in Adelaide, the question on most bettors’ minds is whether anyone can beat Novak Djokovic. Tennis data expert and Advantage Bettors podcast regular Dan Weston examines the Men’s Singles side of the tournament to help you find value in the market.

Regular watchers of the Outright market over the last few days will have seen a continual downshift in Novak Djokovic’s price to win the Australian Open. He was close to even money before the withdrawal of world number one Carlos Alcaraz, and then the Serb’s price dropped to 1.757 [-132] prior to his semi-final against Daniil Medvedev in Adelaide. After his straight sets victory over him, Djokovic has now been backed in to being the 1.641 [-156]* odds-on favourite for glory in Melbourne.

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Australian Open Men’s Singles predictions: Novak Djokovic returns as favourite 

This, of course, is making headlines for more reasons than one. Djokovic’s troubles in Australia last year, which ended in him exiting the country and not participating in the event, are well documented, and a Djokovic victory this year might make for some interesting local discussion points. 

Djokovic’s experience in Australia last year is likely to make him extremely motivated to leave Australia with the trophy in his hand this year, and the market has clearly bought into this narrative as well, probably justifiably.

Djokovic’s eight Australian Open titles since 2011 is a level of dominance only seen by Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros, and he’s won the last three Australian Opens in which he’s been permitted to compete - beating rivals Nadal, Dominic Thiem, and Daniil Medvedev in the process.

The contenders in the Australian Open Men's Singles event

Medvedev will start the event as the second favourite, currently priced at 5.980 [+498]*, and is the only other player in single-digit pricing. He’s lost the previous two finals in Melbourne, to Djokovic in 2021 (in straight sets) and Nadal in 2022 (when he threw away a two-set lead to lose 7-5 in the fifth set), so there’s a sense of him having unfinished business here. 

The issue Medvedev faces is that he’s around 6% behind Djokovic in terms of Combined Service/Return Points Won in the last six months across all surfaces, and yet is still the second-best on tour - illustrating how good Djokovic has been in the second half of 2022.

Medvedev's around 6% behind Djokovic in Combined Service/Return Points Won in the last six months

Rankings may suggest otherwise, with politics playing a part, but these two are evidently the best two on tour right now. Rankings also complicate things with the event’s draw, with Djokovic likely to be seeded fourth and Medvedev sixth, opening up the prospect of the duo being drawn in the same half of the draw. If that is the case, they will not be able to meet in the final.

Nadal and Nick Kyrgios lead the chasing pack, priced up at 13.640 [+1264]* and 15.270 [+1427]* respectively, but Nadal’s recent performance level – six defeats in his last seven matches, stemming back to the US Open fourth round in early September – is a real concern. His performances in losses to Cameron Norrie and Alex de Minaur in the United Cup hardly inspires confidence about his potential for defending his title.

Kyrgios’ ranking outside the top 20 creates all types of issues with tricky potential draws, and there’s also an injury concern too – he pulled out of the Japanese Open in Tokyo in October with a knee issue and subsequently lost three exhibition matches in December, and hasn’t played since. While capable of performing at a very high level, there’s clear doubts about Kyrgios right now and he may have to wait a little longer for his first slam title.

How does the rest of the field shape up

There’s a clear ability gap to most of the rest of the field. Some young players, such as Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jannik Sinner, look capable of a run to the latter stages of the tournament – both are available just below the 20.000 [+1900]* mark, along with injury-hampered Alexander Zverev at 19.230 [+1823]*, and Stefanos Tsitsipas, who is priced up at 19.800 [+1880]*.

However, both data and logic suggests that the event is firmly in Djokovic’s hands, with Medvedev a clear second favourite, and it would be a surprise if one of the two weren’t celebrating winning the title in three weeks’ time.

You can follow Dan on Twitter @Tennisratings and also check out his Women’s Singles tournament preview here.

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