Three usual contenders and three hopeful contenders, but who is a genuine contender at Melbourne Park?

Six contenders? Seems about right. Novak is chasing down more history as well as Rafa who is looking at chasing down Roger who would like to pull away a bit more but Daniil, Dominic and Stefanos have their sights on a first major title, but how realistic are there six’ chances?

Novak Djokovic

Overwhelming favourite, hands down.

That doesn’t mean we should put our feet up and let it just happen at all. He is playing at an unmatched level right now.

The way his season ended wasn’t great at all but the way he played during the ATP Cup was simply outstanding.

He does have a tricky draw but is there anyone better than him on these courts? If I’m looking at challengers for Novak on a hard court right now I look at Medvedev and maybe Tsitsipas.

Novak’s Potential Path

R1 – Struff
R2 – Ito/Qualifier
R3 – Evans
R4 – Schwartzman/Lajovic
QF – Tsitsipas/Bautista Agut
SF – Federer/Berrettini
F – Nadal/Medvedev

Rafael Nadal

I’ll be honest I don’t see it happening.

In all honesty I thought his performances in Sydney were over-hyped. I don’t think he played particularly well throughout the event, at times it was a bit of a huff and a puff to get through.

The performance against Djokovic in Sydney came to no surprise losing his 9th match and 19th set in a row against Novak on a hard court. It was too easy.

Rafa is still a top player but he would have to topple Djokovic and I imagine will run into earlier obstacles by the time they potentially meet.

Screenshot 2020-01-16 at 12.32.29
image credit – Australian Open instagram

Rafa’s Potential Path

R1 – Dellien
R2 – Delbonis / Sousa
R3 – Carreno Busta
R4 – Khachanov / Kyrgios
QF – Thiem
SF – Medvedev / Zverev
F – Djokovic / Federer

Roger Federer

No warm-up and no matches since mid-November.

I don’t see it happening for Roger in all honesty. I think he will be good to a level but there are many more players in this draw that have more behind them at the moment.

He has the experience and skill to work his way through matches but when it gets to the last 16 I do see it being problematic for Roger.

Roger’s Potential Path

R1 – Johnson
R2 – Krajinovic/Qualifer
R3 – Hurkacz
R4 – Shapovalov/Dimitrov
QF – Berrettini/Fognini
SF – Djokovic/Tsitsipas
F – Nadal/Medvedev

Dominic Thiem

Runner-up in London, winner Indian Wells, Beijing and Vienna but there still seems to be some question marks over his hard court form.

He didn’t start his season too well with one win and defeats in ATP Cup.

It was explosive tennis but messy at the same time from Dominic which is a shame. I think he will do most of his damage later on in the year when we hit the clay but he should be in that final conversation now.

I’d be surprised but happy if he went far here but I want to see how he does in the opening couple of rounds as form shows in majors he is no stranger to an early exit.

Thiem’s Potential Path

R1 – Mannarino
R2 – Bolt/Ramos-Vinolas
R3 – Fritz/Anderson
R4 – Monfils/Auger-Aliassime
QF – Nadal/Khachanov
SF – Medvedev/Wawrinka/Zverev
F – DJokovic/Federer/Tsitsipas

Stefanos Tsitsipas

This guy lit the place up last year.

I will never forget that ballsy and fearless display against Roger Federer.

6-7 7-6 7-5 7-6 against the former champion, it was nerves of steel from the Greek who won a lot of fans in Melbourne and brought a lot of home support with him.

He can just turn up and turn it on which is what I like about him the most. His unpredictability mixed with his fearless personality makes him dangerous and I wouldn’t rule a win out here.

Stefanos’ Potential Path

R1 – Caruso
R2 – Kohlschreiber
R3 – Garin/Raonic
R4 – Agut
QF – Djokovic
SF – Federer
F – Nadal/Medvedev

Daniil Medvedev

Daniil has reacted to his disappointing time in London with some good performances.

He seems so focused and was impressive down at the ATP Cup.

With Daniil I do think it is a matter of time before he wins a major. He can turn disappointed around excellently and never gives in as we saw at Flushing Meadows, what looked like being a straight forward final for Nadal turned tricky but the Russian does have a tough opener against Tiafoe but I wouldn’t be surprised if he won with ease.

Medvedev’s Potential Path

R1 – Tiafoe
R2 – Koepher
R3 – Tsonga
R4 – Wawrinka
QF – Zverev/Goffin
SF – Nadal/Thiem
F – Djokovic/Federer

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