The 2018 Australian Open: Who Will Prevail in Melbourne?

Tennis fans, gear yourself up for another epic year of Grand Slam action–starting with the eagerly anticipated Australian Open in Melbourne during the middle and latter stages of January. Roger Federer was crowned men’s champion in 2017 after defeating familiar foe Rafael Nadal in five sets, and the Swiss star–now a winner of a record 19 major titles–will be in the mix to go on and lift the famous trophy next month.

Men’s tennis is now more competitive than it has ever been and there are a handful of elite names who could challenge for glory in the first Grand Slam event of the calendar year. The likes of Nadal, Andy Murray, and Novak Djokovic will all be desperate to stop Federer in his latest bid to secure a 20th Grand Slam crown. Meanwhile, new kid on the block Alexander Zverev will be quietly confident of displacing his older and more experienced rivals.

Federer is still the one to beat

Currently ranked No. 2 in the world, Federer continues to turn back the clock. At 36 years old and arguably the greatest male tennis player of all-time, he should be in his twilight years of his career. But Federer has shown time and time again that he is more than capable of holding his own against his younger opponents.

As of right now, Federer has won a staggering 19 Grand Slam titles and No. 20 may be just around the corner. Capturing another Australian Open title won’t be easy despite his incredible winning percentage in Melbourne. Federer has won 87 percent of his Grand Slam matches at this event and that ratio could rise even further if he finds his best form ahead of the 2018 competition.

Zverev destined for Grand Slam success in the future

Zverev is almost certainly a future Grand Slam champion. The German is playing at a level well above his age and experience. He may be just 20 years old, but the world No. 4 is on the road to greatness–and he knows it. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a true tennis prodigy in action. If this is his tear to shine, though, Zverev will have to fare better in majors–including at the Australian Open (lost in the third round in 2017).

One interesting statistic of note is that Zverev has an excellent record against Federer. On grass Federer has been the better player, but Zverev got the best of Federer on the hard courts of Montreal this past summer. Yes, he is young and still very raw but he can take his own game to the next level in 2018 with a surge to the latter stages of the Australian Open.

Don’t discount Djokovic despite disappointing 2017

Last season quickly turned into something to forget for Djokovic. He failed to overcome a series of niggling injury issues and was eventually ruled out for the final few months of the season. Now, he is back and ready to challenge for the biggest prizes on offer. Can he get back to his brilliant best? Only time will tell….

The Serb was ranked No. 1 in the world for well over a year, but Djokovic’s struggles in 2017 were well-documented and he has now slipped down to 12th in the official ATP rankings. Despite his fall from grace, Djokovic is valued at 4/1 to win the Australian Open with most bookmakers available via Oddshecker. Punters may want to scour the promotions and offers before betting on the inconsistent 30-year-old.

Grigor Dimitrov has been solid in recent months

At 26 years old, Dimitrov is approaching his prime and he will be tough to stop on what is arguably his best surface. Having reached the semifinals of this event in 2017, the Bulgarian may be able to go two steps farther in 2018 as he looks to prove his worth as one of tennis’ modern greats. Do not write him off just yet; he is well worth considering for Grand Slam glory.

Nadal: the one to oust Federer?

The “King of Clay” is about so much more than Roland Garros. Personality wise, Nadal is able to match Federer stride for stride and he is one of tennis’ most likable characters. His own record at the Australian Open isn’t outstanding, but he did push to the brink of defeat in 2017 and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see this one go in his favor.

Now considered the best player on the planet in the official rankings, Nadal can cement his status alongside Federer as the top two men to have ever graced the sport. With Federer favored and Nadal a general 3/1 shot to go on and win Down Under, there isn’t much between the two all-time greats. Most bookmakers are struggling to split these two legends of the game.

Australian Open Prediction

It may see a little clichéd to look at Federer and Nadal, but nobody else really stands out too much at this moment in time. Although Zverev is a future champion and possesses the skill-set to succeed, backing the youngster so soon may be foolish. Neutrals want another titanic clash between two of the greatest players ever to have lived and we could be set for another installment in the classic Federer-Nadal rivalry.

22 Comments on The 2018 Australian Open: Who Will Prevail in Melbourne?

  1. Novak, unlike Rafa and Fed, wasn’t able to win the channel slam; the short turnaround was/is always a problem. It must be noted that both Rafa and Fed had made the finals of both FO and Wimbledon within the same season, winning at least one of them on a few occasions (Rafa five times and winning twice the channel slam – 2008, 2010; Fed four times winning once the channel slam in 2009).

    Djoko had done it on two occasions (2014, 2015) but he couldn’t win the channel slam. Perhaps winning the calendar slam was still > winning four (non calendar) slams in a row the way Djoko did his because Djoko did not need to win the FO and Wimbledon B2B.

    • So, while many call it splitting hairs – maybe winning a calendar slam is after all a bit more difficult than Novak winning four slams in a row but in successive years, because a calendar slam necessarily includes the channel slam! The Novak Slam which he completed at RG 2016 didn’t include the channel slam. Since Novak fell in the second round at Wimby he wasn’t even close.
      Considering Rafa’s Wimby woes in the last couple of years it’s amazing that he managed to win the channel slam twice! And if he had managed to complete the Rafa Slam he was gunning for at the AO 2011 it would’ve included a channel slam. So there are subtle differences.

      • Björn Borg is the true master of the channel slam – not only in numbers but also because at the time the difference in surface speed between clay and grass was much more pronounced.

      • Not quite true what I said about Novak never having been even close to complete the channel slam. He wasn’t close in 2016 but he was very close in the years before, as Luckystar has already explained.

  2. IMHO Although Novak has been the only player to challenge the Fedal hedgemony in tennis, he also had a slice of luck with both of them regressing, also he benefited from Murray getting injured, and having key hole surgery, Murray had just won Wimbledon, and wasnt the same player for a long time after that, it took him another 3 years to win another GS, he had won his second GS and Novak had 6 GS, so you have to ask yourself how much Novak benefited, and how many more GS Murray mightve won if not for the injury, not that ifs or buts matter, but it is food for thought though ….

    • How’s Laver the undisputed GOAT?? One can make a case for him being a good candidate – but that’s all. If anything, his achievements (which are indeed undisputed) show that the mythical GOAT beast either doesn’t exist – or that there are many GOATS. Each generation has it’s own.
      But Laver could be right: the changing of the guard must happen eventually. It could well be this year. But then again, we thought so last year…

    • Besides, your assessment of the Big Four’s current and previous achievements is less than accurate. Ricky has done a much better job in his article above. Especially your statement that Nadal should stay clear of grass and hardcourts is surprising, since he managed to win another hardcourt slam last year and was – behind Fed – the second best hardcourt player last season. Heck, with two finals and winning one of them he did better than Federer in the hardcourt slams. He wouldn’t have been able to secure a fourth year-end pole position without his success on hardcourt. As Ricky said so well: there’s so much more to Nadal than his clay court prowess. The history of tennis would be very different if Rafa had limited his ambitions and action radius solely to his claycourt kingdom. If his knees suffered along the way – so be it. The results speak for themselves. And he already outlived many early predictions concerning his career arc. That said, I don’t expect him to have Roger’s longevity. Hanging on to the No 1 position might be difficult if he is reasonable and curtails his schedule. But he certainly has the ambition and will power for hanging around a bit longer. The same might be true for Novak once his elbow is fully functioning again. The upcoming AO will tell us more about Novak’s current shape. He didn’t look half bad in his exo matches. And unlike Rafa he has rarely been hurt in the past.
      Andy Murray is a different case. His future doesn’t look too bright like now and the popular Big Four narrative is probably history.

  3. AO DRAW:

    1R- Estrella Burgos- 3/10
    2R- L. Mayer- 5/10
    3R- Coric/Millman- 5/10
    4R- Dzumhur- 4/10
    QF- Isner/Cilic 8/10 DANGER
    SF- Dimitrov- 8/10
    F- Federer/Zverev- 9/10 (it’s Roger)

    #AusOpen  potential quarter-finals…

    🇪🇸Nadal v Cilic🇭🇷
    🇧🇬Dimitrov v Sock🇺🇸

    🇦🇹Thiem/🇨🇭Wawrinka v Djokovic🇷🇸/Zverev🇩🇪
    🇧🇪Goffin v Federer🇨🇭

    • Cmon give that man from switzerland a 10/10 difficulty. U see what happened last year? U know who that guy is? And make Estrella Burgos a 0/10 😂

  4. CORRECTION: 1st round: Victor Estrella Burgos
    2nd round: Nicolas Jarry and Leonardo Mayer
    3rd round: Damir Dzumhur
    Last 16: John Isner
    Quarter-final: Marin Cilic
    Semi-final: Alexander Zverev or Novak Djokovic
    Final: Roger Federer

  5. I haven’t seen the full draw yet but:

    1st quarter: Nadal, Cilic

    2nd: Dimitrov, Kyrgios, Tsonga

    3rd: A Zverev, Djokovic, Thiem

    4th: Federer, Delpo, Goffin, Raonic

  6. Didn’t even realize this but Nishioka is back. Dude tore his ACL or something back in Miami when he was absolutely balling. He was easily on his way to top 50 and beyond I would say. Good to see that’s he’s back.

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