The first major event of the season kicks off on Monday at Melbourne Park. One hundred twenty-eight players will fight for the Australian Open trophy and 2000 ATP points, and the two main stars are on opposite halves. Defending champion Rafael Nadal is the top seed.
He faces young Briton Jake Draper in the first round, which could be tricky for a 22-time Major winner. Rafa has been struggling since the summer, playing just 11 matches after Wimbledon and hoping for a better run in Melbourne.
Nadal lost both meetings in the United Cup and will have to play well to unseat Draper, who reached the semi-final in Adelaide. Karen Khachanov, Frances Tiafoe, Hubert Hurkacz, Denis Shapovalov, Sebastian Korda and Daniil Medvedev are all in the top quarter, and Nadal will have to put in his 120% to advance to the semifinals.
Stefanos Tsitsipas and Felix Auger-Aliassime are the top ranked players in the second quarter. Tsitsipas should face either Lorenzo Musetti or Jannik Sinner in the fourth round, looking for another good result Down Under after already playing in the semifinal.
Auger-Aliassime faces his compatriot Vasek Pospisil in the first round ahead of possible duels with Borna Coric and Cameron Norrie. Nine-time champion Novak Djokovic is the favorite going into the third quarter. Novak missed last year’s Australian Open and will try to restore order, especially after winning the ATP 92 title in Adelaide last week.
Djokovic faces Grigor Dimitrov, Aslan Karatsev, Alex de Minaur and Pablo Carreno Busta en route to the quarterfinals, with no one standing a chance to beat him if the Serb is 100% physically fit.
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are among the favorites for the Australian Open.
Holger Rune, Nick Kyrgios and Andrey Rublev are potential quarterfinal opponents, and it will be interesting to see who will challenge the most dominant player in this event.
Rublev plays Dominic Thiem in one of the first round matches to watch. Casper Ruud and Taylor Fritz lead the fourth quarter. In another classic, Fritz could face Alexander Zverev in the fourth round if the German brings back his A-game following a nasty injury.
Matteo Berrettini plays former finalist Andy Murray in the first round, and his fourth-round opponent should be second seed Casper Ruud.