It has been a long 12 months since we last saw the best of the best battling it out to claim another title at the Australian Open.
Last year, the 2020 tournament was one event on the Tennis calendar that won’t be forgotten. In the first round, then world number 1 Rafa Nadal and world number 2 Novak Djokovic had clearly set a high expectation, and it seemed the top seeds were the clear favorites to meet in the final.
Prior to the event, the current world No.1 Rafael Nadal could have held the record for the most grand slams if he was to win this one.
Current rankings for most grand slams won:
- Roger Federer (SUI) 20
- Rafael Nadal (ESP) 20
- Novak Djokovic (SRB) 17
However, things didn’t quite go to plan as Rafael was eliminated in the quarter-final by Dominic Thiem in 5 sets. Thiem had been the underdog during the event and made it to the final, where he went up against world No.2 Novak Djokovic.
The final was set; Dominic Thiem was to take on Novak Djokovic, which turned out to be one of the best Australian Open finals in history as Thiem looked to win the match after winning 2 sets in a row. However, in a 5 set match, Novak claimed his 17th grand slam and now his eyes are set on reaching 18.
Ironically, the Women’s world No.1 Ash Barty was also knocked out in the semi-finals by Sofia Kenin, who then went on to win her 5th grand slam.
The 2021 Australian Open is now here, and with the challenges around the world, it has been a disrupted preparation for all the players due to the Coronavirus. Also, the world No. 3 Roger Federer has withdrawn from coming to Australia after undergoing a double knee surgery.
More breaking news: Rafa Nadal has recently pulled out of the ATP as he was complaining of a stiff lower back and has decided to rest to get ready for the Australian Open.
So how will the Tournament play out? With Federer being out and the injury cloud over Nadal, the doors have opened up for Djokovic to win another grand slam and move one step closer to winning the most Grand Slams of all time.
In the Women’s tournament, it is clear that Ash Barty will be looking to win at her home tournament and maintain the position of world number 1.
Let’s take a look at the outside players for the Men’s and Women’s that could cause a few upsets and possibly make it to the finals.
In the Men’s, there are 3 players who, if they can focus, could have a real chance of making an impact.
1. Nick Kyrgioshas beaten all of the top 3 world-ranked players before and has the ability to do it again. At times, when something doesn’t go his way, he seems to lose his composure, but if Nick can stay mentally strong, he could win the Australian Open on his home turf.
2. Dominic Thiem was the runner up here last year in what was an amazing final and, with an easier draw this year, Dominic could go that extra step.
3. Daniil Medvedev was the hottest player on the ATP tour when 2020 ended. He comes into 2021 having beaten the world number 1, 2, and 3 (Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Dominic Thiem) to win the ATP Finals in London.
The wild card for the men’s goes to Carlos Alcaraz. Carlos has studied his fellow countrymen and world No.2 Rafael Nadal and is already showing signs that he will be the next Spaniard to follow in Rafael’s legacy.
In the Women’s, we also look at who could meet Ash Barty in the finals.
1. Naomi Osaka. Well, this one seems obvious as Naomi’s form has been spot on leading up to the Australian Open, so we are picking Naomi to be there at the end.
2. Sofia Kenin. Last year’s champion will no doubt be there again this year.
3. Nadia Podoroska.The Argentinian was crowned WTA newcomer of the year after a breakout campaign in 2020.
👉 Our picks: 👨 Men’s Winner: Dominic Theim 👩 Women’s Winner: Naomi Osaka