January is a great month for sports. Not only are the NFL playoffs on deck, but the PGA has also officially kicked off and the Australian Open is set to begin. As tennis’ first major of the year, it’s best to ease into the two-week event to gauge the rhythm and fitness of the players.
If the draw is any indication, this could be one of the most entertaining majors of the year. If you’re looking to wager on the futures market, here’s what you need to know.
Novak Djokovic -120
Daniil Medvedev +600
Rafael Nadal +1400
Stefanos Tsitsipas +1400
Nick Kyrgios +1600
ATP Australian Open preview: Top of of the draw
The top half is highlighted by grand slam leader Rafael Nadal, 2022 Australian Open finalist Daniil Mevedev and 2021 French Open finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas. The first quarter features Nadal, who won both the 2022 Australian Open in addition to the French Open.
Poised to make a calendar slam run, Nadal went through ailments that forced him to retire in the semifinal at Wimbledon and then lose to American Frances Tiafoe in the Round of 16 in the US Open. Since, Nadal saw his bestie retire in Roger Federer in an emotional sendoff at the Laver Cup, saw the birth of his first child and lost to Tommy Paul in Paris before an underwhelming performance in the ATP World Tour Finals.
Fading Nadal is enticing but as we witnessed last year, it’s likely not a wise proposition. However, a matchup that has me intrigued is a potential fourth-round match (rematch) against Tiafoe. If there was a spot to fade Nadal, that's it. In all likelihood, however, we could see Medvedev win the first quarter. The Russian has made the Australian Open final in back-to-back years, losing to Djokovic in 2021 and then Nadal last year. With a favorable draw, a path to the final is in Medvedev’s cards.
Odds to win the first quarter of the draw
Sebastian Korda +500
Frances Tiafoe +1100
The second quarter is quite tricky with so much young talent grouped together, including Tsitsipas, Jannik Sinner and Borna Coric to name a few. Sinner reached the quarterfinals in back-to-back majors (2022 Wimbledon, 2022 US Open), while Coric, who was out for some time from injury, last made a deep major run losing in the quarterfinals of the 2020 US Open.
Odds to win the second quarter of the draw
Felix Auger-Aliassime +350
Cameron Norrie +500
Tsitsipas is the favorite to win the second quarter and I agree with the odds. At the end of 2022, the Greek God showcased an adaption in his game, the willingness to come into the net more, concentrating on working his forehand strength into rallies to put the ball away quickly. Although the backhand has been his weak point (missing the down-the-line shot), it is solid enough to keep him in points. Tsitsipas can handle power while being a power player himself.
ATP Australian Open preview: Bottom of of the draw
The bottom half of the draw is mega exciting. In the third quarter, we could see a Paris Masters rematch between 19-year-old Holger Rune and Djokovic. Djoker closed out the year with a 26-2 record that included winning Wimbledon for his 21st major title and the Nitto ATP finals, which came after his loss to Rune in the ATP Masters 1000 Paris final. Last year really was a breakout year for Rune and his win in Paris proved that he has the potential to contend against top-level players on tour. The test now will be whether he can apply that aggression in a best-of-five tournament. Plus, we haven’t really seen Rune since winning in Paris in October. He’s played one match this year and lost.
Odds to win the third quarter of the draw
Nick Kyrgios +450
Andrey Rublev +1400
The fourth quarter will be thrilling. In my most expert analysis ... I have no idea who will win this part of the draw. It will be must-watch TV, simply because of all the young talent in this bunch between Matteo Berrettini, Casper Ruud and Taylor Fritz. Berrettini has reached at least the quarterfinals in five straight majors, with his best run being a semifinal loss to Nadal in last year’s Australian Open. Ruud is coming off his first major final, losing to Carlos Alcaraz in the US Open, while Fritz recently had his best showing last year at Wimbledon with a quarterfinal loss to Nadal in a tight fifth-set tiebreak loss.
Odds to win the fourth quarter of the draw
Alexander Zverev +650
The fourth quarter is so matchup dependent that predicting a quarter winner is difficult. If I had to guess, I would pick Ruud (+400). Known as a clay courter, the Norwegian really made strides on hard court last year with appearances in the Miami finals and the US Open finals. It’s a matter of whether playing the ATP finals and United Cup gave him enough reps for a major.
ATP Australian Open best bets
Bet Novak Djokovic to win at -120. Laying juice for a futures bet? Yes! This is a best of five — fitness, stamina, mentality and experience matters. There’s a reason Djokovic has won this tournament nine times. He’s simply the best player in the field, on this surface, with all the weapons at hand to win a 10th title. Plus, Djokovic is coming into this having not played a full 2022 schedule, while still finishing the year with a strong win/loss record. Towards the end of the year, Djoker upped his reps, beat everyone and recently shared that he has no harsh feelings about the 2022 Australian Open. Djoker is in a great position to tie Nadal for the slam record.
If not Djokovic, then who? I’m interested in backing Stefanos Tsitsipas +1400. If these two were to meet in the final, Djokovic holds a 10-2 record. However, Tsitsipas pushed Novak to five sets both in the 2020 and 2021 French Open. Slower surface, sure, but look at the 2022 ATP Paris event. Tsitsipas nearly won, losing in a third-set tiebreak. Tsitsipas is getting close. This could be his time … if it’s not Djokovic’s.