Tennis’ Grand Slam season starts in a matter of days, and there’s a bit of drama surrounding this year’s Australian Open.
Due to extreme heat and the desire for a lengthened offseason, there have been some calls to move the starting date of future Australian Opens. Tournament director Craig Tiley didn’t hold back in his rebuttal, however, calling the idea “ridiculous and bizarre.”
Expect the debate to continue into the tournament, although the weather forecast for this year’s edition seems plenty manageable.
On the court, betting odds suggest it could be a relatively low-drama tournament, with a pair of clear-cut favorites on the men’s and women’s side. There are, however, a few worthy challengers capable of turning each bracket into chaos.
Djokovic seeks another Grand Slam
After being sent out of the country last year due to COVID-19 vaccination issues, Novak Djokovic is back in 2023, and he’s the men’s betting favorite. It’s no surprise sports betting oddsmakers peg Djokovic as the top contender, as nine of his 21 career Grand Slam titles have come in Australia, and he’s won each of the last three years he’s competed in the tournament.
Djokovic is a -125 favorite to win the event on FanDuel, which is one of the many mobile sportsbooks offering odds on the tournament. Daniil Medvedev (+600), Stefanos Tsitsipas (+1500), Nick Kyrgios (+1600), and Rafael Nadal (+1800) follow Djokovic down the odds board. World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz won’t compete in the tournament, as he’s out with a leg injury.
Could Djokovic, one of the greatest players of all time, be vulnerable entering the event? While his form and history in Australia suggest he’s an obvious favorite, Djokovic is dealing with a hamstring injury that forced him to withdraw from a recent practice match.
Kyrgios is a fascinating player to monitor in just about every event, as the Australian is highly polarizing. His on-court antics are viewed by some as entertaining, while others see them as immature. Kyrgios is supremely talented, winning an Australian Open doubles title last year. Still, he’s never advanced beyond the quarterfinals of the singles draw in his home country.
Folks, the Australian Open is just a week [email protected] pic.twitter.com/IgY9uhSauO
— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) January 8, 2023
Swiatek chases first Australian Open
Iga Swiatek is the favorite on the women’s side, winning two of the last four women’s Grand Slam tournaments. She’s yet to win the Australian Open in her young career, but she made the semifinals last year. She’s highly talented and playing superb tennis, making her an expected favorite.
Swiatek is listed at -110 on FanDuel to win, while Ons Jabeur (+850), Coco Gauff (+1200), Caroline Garcia (+1400), Paula Badosa (+1400), and Jessica Pegula (+1400) follow. Gauff is a budding American star, although the youngster has yet to advance beyond the fourth round of the Australian Open, falling in the first round last year. Pegula, also an American, has made the quarterfinals in consecutive years.
Two-time Australian Open singles champion Naomi Osaka won’t compete in this year’s event. She announced Wednesday that she’s pregnant and hopes to return to the event in 2024.
Photo: Peter van den Berg/USA TODAY