The Australian Open may be the newest tournament when it comes to the four tennis Grand Slams, established in 1905, but this year’s competition marks the 108th edition – and the 52nd in the Open Era. The first major tennis tournament of the calendar year is to get underway in the coming weeks and already the singles seedings are in place and the wild card entrants are being announced.
Ahead of the 2020 Australian Open, let’s remind ourselves of who was successful last year and who could be the ones to beat in Melbourne this time around.
Last year, Novak Djokovic won the Australian Open, in turn breaking the record for the most titles won in Melbourne – seven. He overcame long-standing rival Rafael Nadal in the final, winning in straight sets 6-3, 6-2. 6-3. Djokovic’s win also meant that he retained the ATP world number 1 ranking.
Djokovic was largely untested in his lead-up to the final, playing qualifier Mitchell Krueger and wild card Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the early rounds. Denis Shapovalov and Daniil Medvedev put up the biggest fight, taking their respective games to a fourth set. After Kei Nishikori pulled out of the quarter-final to injury, the Serbian faced Lucas Pouille in the semis and he dispatched him fairly easily, winning 6-0, 6-2, 6-2.
In Australian Open 2020 odds, the reigning champion is favourite again. Currently on 16 Grand Slam titles, a win for Djokovic would bring him closer to Nadal’s total of 19, while Swiss ace Roger Federer leads the way with 20.
Naomi Osaka made it two consecutive Grand Slam titles when she defeated Petra Kvitová in Melbourne, overtaking Simona Halep to become the WTA world number 1. Osaka went into the tournament as the fourth seed and overcame her opponent in three sets 7-6(7-2), 5-7, 6-4.
After beating two unseeded opponents in straight sets in the opening rounds, Osaka went behind in both her third and fourth round matches, but beat the lesser-ranked players she faced. She overcame the sixth seed Elina Svitolina in the quarter-finals, before facing another Czech star in the semis – Karolína Plíšková – to set up the final.
In the Open Era, Serena Williams not only has the most Australian Open titles (seven), she holds the record for the most Grand Slams too, with 23. Understandably, she is the favourite for the women’s singles title. Although her last Championship victory came at Melbourne in January 2017, she has had four finals appearances since then, most recently at the 2019 US Open.
French duo Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut completed their career Grand Slams when they won last year’s Australian Open, defeating Henri Kontinen and John Peers in the final, 6-4, 7-6(7-1). They became the first Frenchmen to manage the feat and the team also recently won the ATP Finals.
The pairings and seedings for the men’s doubles have not yet been announced.
At the 2019 Australian Open, defending champions Tímea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic lost out in the final to Samantha Stosur and Zhang Shuai, who were unseeded. Not only did the duo defeat the number 2 ranked pair (6-3, 6-4), they also knocked out the number 1 seeds in the quarter-finals.
The pairings and seedings for the women’s doubles have not yet been announced.