Is Novak Djokovic unstoppable on his way to a 10th Australian Open title? Can Iga Swiatek cement her status as the best in the world? And what about Rafael Nadal? Can he re-create the magic from a year ago?

Our experts attempt to answer these questions and make their own predictions as the first Grand Slam of the year starts on Monday.

Who will win the women’s singles title and why?

James Blake: Jessica Pegula will win this year. She has the best attitude and consistent results. She proved already this year that her top level can be as good as anyone’s. She has always had the mindset of improvement, and it seems to be paying off with impressive results. I think it’s just a matter of time until she wins a Grand Slam title. Why not now?

Cliff Drysdale: Swiatek is the top choice. Her pluses are obvious, but her negative is that she does not have an overpowering serve, so she has to win the old-fashioned way and earn it. Big hitters on a good day could spell trouble.

Mary Joe Fernandez: Swiatek is the favorite and the one to beat. She has won so much in the past 12 months, including winning two of the past three Slams. She moves exceptionally well and hits a very heavy and powerful ball. It will take a big hitter to upset her.

Jason Goodall: Swiatek is the big favorite in the women’s singles, for obvious reasons. She’s the only player who has stepped up at the highest level consistently since Ashleigh Barty’s retirement 11 months ago.

But Swiatek can be overpowered, as Pegula showed at the United Cup. The game plan has to be aggressive and the execution almost perfect, but it can be done — especially on a hard court — as Pegula proved.

Patrick McEnroe: I’m going all-in on Pegula. She has looked great Down Under and will do it for Damar Hamlin and the Bills Mafia (but mostly for herself). [Editor’s note: Pegula is the daughter of Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula]

Chris McKendry: Coco Gauff. After she won the Auckland title a week ago, I told Mary Joe Fernandez that Gauff would win Australia. (Mary Joe was wise enough to not agree or disagree.) Now seeing the draw, I was a bit ahead of myself! Gauff will be tested from the jump against Katerina Siniakova, who beat her at the Billie Jean King Cup Finals at the end of last year.

But I’m sticking with Gauff. If she can consistently serve well and finish more points at the net, as she did in Auckland, I love her chances. She’ll also need to manage the nerves and expectations that come with the final weekend of a Slam event.

Pam Shriver: It’s hard to pick anyone else to win ahead of Swiatek. Last year, she was a semifinalist. But since then, she has led the way by standing up to the pressures of ascending to No. 1 — and backing it up with zest. She has the team and attention to detail to win her third leg of the career Grand Slam.

Rennae Stubbs: Tougher one here as compared to the men, because as dominant as Swiatek was in 2022, this surface isn’t as friendly. Having said that, I believe she, of all the players in the draw, knows how to navigate the moment and the seven matches. So I’m not superconfident, but I’m going with Swiatek.

Caroline Wozniacki: I think Swiatek is the favorite to win. Having won two majors last year, she will go into any Slam this year as the favorite. My outside pick would be Belinda Bencic; I think these faster courts favor her game. Having had some good wins in Adelaide will give her confidence.

Bill Connelly: Swiatek. I’m not going to overthink this one. If we’re talking “Swiatek vs. the field,” then the field still has the edge because winning seven matches in a row remains difficult, and she could still face Bianca Andreescu in the third round, Danielle Collins/Elena Rybakina in the fourth and so on. If you consider her two biggest challengers to be Pegula and Aryna Sabalenka, as the sportsbooks do, Swiatek might have to beat them both to win the title. It’s not an easy road, but she’s also the best player in the world.

Tom Hamilton: It’s Iga Swiatek’s world, and we’re all living it. Though Sabalenka will make a deep run here, it’s Swiatek who will surely storm to her maiden Melbourne Slam. Swiatek’s 2022 campaign was remarkable — marked with two Slams — and she is the dominant force in the sport. I’m tipping Swiatek to win, but it would also be wonderful to see her US Open final opponent Ons Jabeur finally convert a Slam final opportunity. Jabeur made two in 2022 — losing both — and surely her time will come sooner rather than later.

Aishwarya Kumar: I am going with Jabeur. She had an extraordinary 2022, making the final of Wimbledon and the US Open, becoming the first Muslim and Arab player to reach a Grand Slam final. She ended the season ranked No. 2 in the world, her career high. Swiatek is definitely going to be her biggest rival, but Jabeur has faced her in a Grand Slam final before and lost (US Open), and she will come back with a point to prove. This year’s Australian Open could very well end with her clearing her last hurdle to lift a Grand Slam trophy.

D’Arcy Maine: Swiatek. Her 2022 season was one for the books — the French Open and US Open titles, four 1000-level trophies, a 37-match win streak and ending the year at No. 1 with more than double the points as anyone else. She looked dominant in her first three matches of the year, as she helped lead the Polish team to the semifinals of the United Cup. Sure, then there was the lopsided loss to Pegula; but that kind of defeat might only fuel her more heading into the tournament. Swiatek’s first Australian Open title seems more than in reach.

Jake Michaels: It’s difficult to look past Swiatek, but if I have to, I’m wondering if Collins could go one better than last year. The American was exceptional at Melbourne Park in 2022, finishing runner-up to then-world No. 1 Barty. However, Collins was unable to carry the momentum throughout the season, winning just four more Grand Slam matches for the year. A reset and a return to Australia might just be what the big-hitting Collins needs in order to rediscover that spark.

Matt Walsh: I think it’s Pegula’s year. She has been strong in Melbourne for a few years now (a quarterfinalist in 2021 and 2022), and after what you could call a “breakout year” last year, she’s my pick to take home the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Trophy. The ducks are lining up in a nice little row for her — reigning champ Barty retired, two-time Aussie Open winner Naomi Osaka has pulled out and Pegula’s form in Melbourne (and in the lead-up to this tournament, specifically) has been very good. Bills-Pegula double, anyone?

Who will win the men’s singles title and why?

Blake: Djokovic will win the men’s title. He is the prohibitive favorite and for good reason. He is dominant in Australia and looking to add to his Grand Slam total. I think his only hurdle will be making sure he stays healthy. Otherwise, it will take a monumental effort for someone to defeat him in a three-out-of-five-set match.

Drysdale: Djokovic. But the next generation is advancing, including Carlos Alcaraz (out with injury), Jannik Sinner, Casper Ruud and Holger Rune, among others.

Fernandez: Djokovic is the favorite and one to beat, His nine Australian Open titles give him a tremendous amount of confidence. He is also going into the event having won the ATP finals and the tournament in Adelaide, where he played well and got through some very tough matches. He looks stronger physically and is very determined after not being able to play last year.

Goodall: Djokovic is the prohibitive favorite and as almost as big a favorite in Melbourne as Nadal is at Roland Garros. Djokovic has been warmly welcomed in Australia and will get a lot of support, which will also help his cause, as will all that happened there 12 months ago with the deportation debacle, which is still very much fueling his fire. Big favorite.

McEnroe: I’ve got Djokovic winning. He has been on a mission since September.

McKendry: Whoever wins the men’s quarterfinal match between Nick Kyrgios and Djokovic. If seeds hold, 19th-seeded Kyrgios will not make the quarterfinals. But I think he will. If so, that match, a rematch of the Wimbledon final, will be appointment viewing. Djokovic will likely advance and go on to win a 10th Australian Open title. After last year’s fiasco, he has all the motivation he needs and, of course, his skill on hardcourts is unmatched.

Shriver: Djokovic. The hamstring injury is the only concern, but given his success in Australia for 15 years, plus his hunger to erase the worst nightmare of his career from last year, he is the clear favorite. I suppose the intangible is the effects of the trauma of being deported last year. Given everything, Djokovic is still the favorite.

Stubbs: Djokovic. I think he has so much to prove after what happened to him last year. I believe, like Nadal in Paris, he feels invincible in Melbourne over five sets.

Wozniacki: I think Djokovic will win. When you come back to a place where you have won this much, it will give you a huge edge when things get close in a match.

Connelly: The question isn’t necessarily who will win, it’s whether Djokovic’s odds are even better than Swiatek’s. The men’s tour is a bit of a mess right now — a fun mess, but a mess. Alcaraz is injured. Nadal is still looking for his post-injury form and has lost six of his past seven tour-level matches going back to his loss to Frances Tiafoe in the U.S. Open. Daniil Medvedev had his worst overall win percentage in four years in 2022 (70%) and lost in straight sets to Djokovic in Adelaide. Ruud made the US Open final, but he has lost seven of his past 12 matches. In each of the quarters of the bracket that don’t include Djokovic, we could see loads of drama and plot twists. But Djokovic has won 26 of his past 27 matches, and all of the drama and uncertainty just makes him even more of a favorite.

Hamilton: With no Alcaraz in the draw, and Nadal still playing his way back into contention, it’s Djokovic’s to lose. Medvedev will push him all the way, but Djokovic will be eyeing Slam No. 22 — and having missed last year’s championship, he’ll feel like he has a point to prove. The only caveat to this is if Djokovic’s troublesome hamstring plays up and prevents him from finding his form. But as we saw in Wimbledon, even with his back to the wall, Djokovic, 35, is the best in the world at prevailing through adversity. And he has a more favorable draw than that of his rivals.

Kumar: This is an easy one. Djokovic. He didn’t play last year’s Australian Open or the US Open, but let’s not forget that he won one out of the two Grand Slams he did play (Wimbledon) and started his 2023 season with a title in Adelaide. In a five-set major, Djokovic clearly has the edge over every other player, even though he is not the No. 1 seed in Australia.

Maine: Djokovic. What a difference a year makes, right? Having made the most of his limited 2022 season and starting the new year with the title in Adelaide — and likely with a chip on his shoulder — Djokovic should get his 22nd major title at the end of the fortnight.

Michaels: Djokovic. Do you really need an explanation here? The Djoker does not lose in Australia, and he is currently riding a 34-match winning streak Down Under, which includes a trio of Aussie Open titles. After the drama of 2022, you can be certain Djokovic will be out to prove a point that he’s still the No. 1 player in the world, even if the rankings suggest otherwise. I’d be stunned if he doesn’t have his 10th Australian Open title by the end of the month.

Walsh: Third time lucky for Medvedev? He came achingly close last year, and Medvedev knows what his weaknesses are — and let’s be honest; they’re all above the shoulders! Too often Medvedev gets sucked in by crowds, struggles to arrest opposition momentum and gets distracted. He’s too good a player to not win here in Melbourne. I’ll back Medvedev to get the best out of himself.

Which player outside of the top 20 could surprise here?

Blake: Well, it’s a little unfair, because Kyrgios would be in the top 20 easily if there had been ranking points awarded at Wimbledon. But he is always an extremely dangerous player, especially when he is motivated, as he most likely will be playing in his home Slam.

Drysdale: Barbora Krejcikova. She had a solid start in Australia last year, including the final eight in Melbourne, and a strong end to the year. She is a big talent with good confidence.

And Sebastian Korda. We are still waiting for the big breakthrough from this talent. Maybe it’ll be here, where his dad won his biggest event.

Fernandez: I think Andreescu could surprise some, as she is unseeded and has started to play better since winning the US Open a few years ago. She has an all-court game and can mix it up well. Korda can also surprise. He just beat quality players in Adelaide and had a match point on Djokovic. Korda’s serve has improved, and he has a world-class backhand.

Goodall: Look out for the two K’s: Kyrgios and Korda. Watch out for both in Melbourne over the next couple of weeks.

McEnroe: Look for Korda to make a bit of a run, as well as the Fruhvirtova sisters. Linda is 17, and Brenda qualified at 15!

McKendry: Former champion Sofia Kenin has had a great start to the season. She looks fit and focused, and you can never underestimate the power of good memories. Even in her loss to Gauff in Auckland, Kenin looked strong. Her opening-round match against Victoria Azarenka will not be easy but Kenin should get through.

Korda looked fantastic in his early-season loss to Djokovic. Korda arguably was the better player but for a few points and opportunities, and that’s all it takes for a champion like Djokovic to snatch victory. It would be very exciting to see Korda insert himself among the younger set of men who dominated play at last year’s US Open.

Shriver: Taylor Fritz has a good chance to be first American men’s winner of a major for 20 years. He has played a lot of tennis without much of an offseason, but I hear that after Australia he will take a break. Winning his first major would make the break extra sweet!

I need to disclose a conflict: I have joined Donna Vekic’s team as an advisory coach. Here in Melbourne, it happens she is on the other side from Swiatek, has a good draw and is playing well. After watching her win six matches in a row in San Diego and knowing how well she has prepared while having a wonderful team around her, Vekic is my outside women’s pick.

Stubbs: Stan Wawrinka. He has a tough draw and might play Felix Auger-Aliassime in the second round, but I think if there is an upset and Wawrinka fights through, look out. On the women’s side, look out for a sneaky Kenin. She also has a really tough draw in Azarenka, but if Kenin can fight through that first round, I think she might have a really good 2023.

Wozniacki: If Azarenka can stay healthy, I think she could win here. She has won the Australian Open twice. She is a veteran with a lot of experience, and there is no one in the draw who will intimidate her.

Connelly: Korda looked great in Adelaide, controlling the action against Andy Murray, Roberto Bautista Agut and dinged-up versions of Sinner and Yoshihito Nishioka, then taking the first set off of Djokovic in the final. Korda made the finals in Gijon and Antwerp back in the fall too. His draw is absolutely loaded — a run might require him to beat Medvedev in the third round, Denis Shapovalov or Hubert Hurkacz in the fourth and Nadal or Tiafoe in the quarterfinals — but Korda is in tremendous form, and it would be disappointing if he didn’t at least give Medvedev a run.

On the women’s side, most of the players I would have gravitated toward have crept into the teens in the rankings, and while the best answers are probably Azarenka or Garbine Muguruza, let’s take a shot on a big dark horse: Marta Kostyuk. The 20-year old has been grinding at a top-50 level for a couple of years, and she made a really nice run at the first Adelaide tournament (though in second one, not so much; she laid a bit of an egg against Shelby Rogers). Kostyuk is looking at a first-round toss-up against Amanda Anisimova, but if Kostyuk survives that one, she could give Pegula hell in the third round.

Hamilton: We’re perhaps too quick in sport to hype up a new talent, but immediately ignoring the cautionary tales, I’m going for 17-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova to make a run in Melbourne. The Czech production line is showing no signs of slowing down, and despite her meager years, Fruhvirtova already has bagged her first WTA title — beating Magda Linette in the Tata Open Maharashtra final in September. Ranked 80th in the world, she should shine Down Under.

On the men’s side? It’s time for Jack Draper to make a dart to at least the quarterfinals … if he overcomes Nadal in the first round. The Brit player is incredibly talented, and he threatened a deep run at the US Open only for his campaign to come to a grinding halt due to injury in the third round.

Kumar: This might come as a surprise only because you never know what you’re going to get from the guy on any given day. Kyrgios. He ended 2022 ranked No. 22 in the world. You know where he was when he started the year? No. 114. He is a brilliant player, and if he puts his mind to it, there are very few opponents who can stop him. He had a breakthrough year in 2022. He won the Australian Open doubles with Thanasi Kokkinakis then made the Wimbledon singles final, where he famously wore his red hat to the awards ceremony. He followed it up with singles and doubles victories at the Citi Open. And who can forget the tactically brilliant four-set win against Medvedev in the fourth round of the US Open last year? The Australian Open is his home Slam too, so he might not stop until he wins the whole thing — and then, who knows, he might just retire, as he keeps hinting.

Maine: Those who were paying close attention in 2022 might not be surprised by this, especially not after the fourth-round challenge she presented to Swiatek at the French Open, but Qinwen Zheng seems poised for another huge year, and it feels like that could start in Melbourne. She reached the final in Tokyo in September, recorded wins over Simona Halep, Paula Badosa and Jelena Ostapenko last year, and opened the 2023 season with a statement victory over Anett Kontaveit in Adelaide. Zheng seems completely undaunted by the opponent or the moment. Assuming the injury that forced her to retire against Petra Kvitova earlier this week isn’t serious, Zheng could be a factor well into the second week.

I’m tempted to say Andreescu after her unbelievable comeback victory over Muguruza in Adelaide — she was down 6-0, 5-2, after all — but she couldn’t follow it up in her next match and lost in straight sets. So instead, please let this formally count as an honorable mention that I will take full credit for if she wins this thing.

Michaels: It might seem a little obvious, but Kyrgios would be the one to keep an eye on. The polarizing Australian player enjoyed a career-best year in 2022, which featured a Wimbledon final and the Australian Open doubles title. Oddsmakers have only given Djokovic, Medvedev, Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas a greater chance to win at Melbourne Park this fortnight than Kyrgios, which highlights just how dangerous he can be. Can he turn it on for two weeks? That’s the question …

Walsh: Ranked 31 in the world, I can see Korda making some waves in Melbourne after a strong showing in Adelaide, where he fell in the final to Djokovic. In that match, Korda was striking the ball well with pinpoint placement. He has spunk. He also is a tall guy, and, at 22, we could see him take the next step in his career and make a deep run into the quarters or beyond at a Slam.

On the women’s side? Azarenka loves this tournament; she is a two-time winner here, after all. And after a fourth-round showing here and at Flushing Meadows in 2022, the hard courts of Melbourne could again be conducive to a deep run.

Considering Nadal’s struggles at the end of last season and early this year, what are his chances of defending his title?

Blake: I think Nadal is listed at 14-1, but I believe his chances are better than that. Djokovic is still the huge favorite, but if he falters in any way, Nadal has had so much success and won so many matches and titles in his career, he would be ready and up to the task, I believe. It appeared impossible last year, and Nadal found a way. That seems to be the story of his career, and he continues to shock and inspire now with his longevity.

Drysdale: Nadal could well win another major here in his effort to distance himself in the majors race from Djokovic. My bet would have him as second favorite, a testament to his game and longevity.

Fernandez: Nadal’s chances are good in my opinion, because he knows there are very few players who can beat him in best of five. If he gets through week one, watch out!

Goodall: As far as the defending champion Nadal is concerned, he is struggling. Given his long-standing abdominal injury, he has had to change his ball toss and service motion slightly and, therefore, the type of second serve he hits — now with more slice. This has left him more vulnerable to double faults and on serve as a whole. However, he is one of the very few players, like Roger Federer and Serena Williams in the past, able to come in cold then play into form throughout the event and still win it all, if he can stay injury-free.

McKendry: I’ll be looking and asking our analysts about Nadal’s serve, as that was a tell following his Wimbledon abdominal injury. That being said, his draw is alarming. The opening round against 21-year-old Draper is tough. Draper made a huge jump into the top 50 last year, and he arrives in great form following a good run in Adelaide. Nadal also could face a US Open rematch against Tiafoe in the fourth round, two-time runner-up Medvedev in the quarterfinals in what would be a repeat of last year’s final and Tsitsipas — before likely seeing Djokovic for the title.

Stubbs: Not great. He actually has a very tough first-round draw and a possible second round against Brandon Nakashima. Both, obviously, he should still win. But because of his lack of pop on the serve and his abdominal injury last year, I think it’s really hurting his chances to defend this year.

Wozniacki: Nadal is always a threat because he is the ultimate competitor. However, with the next generation closing the gap, as well as Djokovic’s dominance in Australia, I think it will be difficult but not impossible.

Connelly: Defending his title? Yeah, that’s going to be rough with Djokovic in the field. Making another deep run? Definitely on the table. It’s always different in a best of five. Not including his injury withdrawal in the Wimbledon semis, Nadal went 22-1 in Slams last year. His draw is just about the rudest I’ve ever seen for a top seed — Draper in the first round, plus maybe a rising Nakashima in the second and Tiafoe in the fourth, only to get Medvedev or Hurkacz in the quarters — and Nadal clearly isn’t the best player in the field. But if he loses to anyone other than Djokovic, it will still feel like a bit of a surprise because it always feels like a bit of a surprise when Nadal loses. You just assume he’ll find his way at Slams, and you’re usually right to do so.

Hamilton: Bet against Nadal at your peril. Yes, he has had a slow start to 2023, with a record of 0-2; but he has proved on countless occasions that he plays his way into form in the early stages of Slams. He did just that last year as he stormed to Slam No. 21 in Australia. He has since added another at Roland Garros and threatened further success, only for his body to let him down at Wimbledon then running into a Tiafoe-sized wall at the US Open. If his mind and body are working in synergy, Nadal will bely his perceived lack of form and fitness and reach the latter stages of the tournament despite the tough draw.

Kumar: It would be ridiculous to rule Nadal out in my book. He digs deeper when you think he is done. That being said, for Nadal to beat Djokovic, particularly where he is currently with his fitness and his form, would require something really special from Nadal. And it’s not just Djokovic. The lineup is deep: There’s Kyrgios, there’s Tiafoe, there’s Fritz. I don’t see Nadal consistently figuring out a way to beat them all for the trophy.

Maine: As we’ve learned many, many times, including during last year’s Australian Open, you can never count out Nadal. There’s no doubt he will leave everything he has on the court and dig deep to do everything in his power to eke out a win, but even with all that said, it just doesn’t seem likely he will be hoisting the trophy again this year. He went 1-3 to end 2022 after falling in the fourth round at the US Open. And he lost his two matches during the United Cup for the worst start of his career. The lack of momentum and rhythm, along with his lingering struggles with injuries, will likely be just too much to overcome this time around.

Michaels: With Djokovic in the draw, I’d say Nadal is going to need a miracle in order to defend his title. There’s just no way he is beating Djokovic right now on this surface. Even if Djokovic wasn’t here, a Nadal triumph would be looking very unlikely. A year is a long time in sports, particularly when that year sees you turn 36 and have injuries and a worrying form slump. I’d be surprised if Nadal made the semifinals this year, much less win the whole tournament.

Walsh: Slim to none — but I would have said that last year, before he went on one of the most unbelievable runs to win here in 2022. The difference this time in Melbourne is multifaceted: Djokovic is back. Nadal’s body still isn’t in perfect shape. Medvedev will come harder. And the younger generation is finally stepping up. (I know Alcaraz won’t compete here this year, but Rune, Auger-Aliassime and Ruud, among others, have shown improvement enough to cause Nadal issues.) Nadal defending would be a miracle.

Betting the Australian Open

Is there a betting value play on the men’s side you like?

Brad Gilbert: Djokovic (-125) is the odds-on favorite and deservingly so. Fully healthy and offered him versus the field, I would take Djokovic. He is that good on this surface. But one thing to keep an eye on is that he is nursing a hamstring issue. He pulled out of practice on Wednesday, and we don’t know the extent of the injury. If it becomes an issue, opportunities are out there for the rest of the field. Considering the field and looking for value, Nadal (+1400), the defending champ, is in the tough half of the draw, so that would be a tough pick. Tsitsipas (+1200) and Fritz (+2000) would be in play here, as they are in the bottom half of the draw with Djokovic, but this is all assuming he isn’t 100 percent.

Andre Snellings: Djokovic to win (-125). Djokovic is nigh unbeatable when he takes the court at the Australian Open. He has won each of the past three and eight of the past 11 Aussie Opens he has played in, and he is still at the top of his game. Djokovic won the last major he entered (Wimbledon 2022), and he won the only tournament that he has played thus far in 2023. Plus, No. 1 Alcaraz will miss the tournament injured, and three of the players with a chance to compete against Djokovic (Nadal, Alexander Zverev and Medvedev) are all still working themselves back into form after injury issues. To get Djokovic this close to even money against the field in Australia is a strong play for me.

Is there a betting value play on the women’s side you like?

Gilbert: No. 1 seed Swiatek (+200) is the favorite, but she did lose to Pegula in straight sets last month in United Cup, and Swiatek hasn’t won on Australia’s quicker surface. If Swiatek gets beaten, it opens this up to 15 to 20 different players who could win. Looking for value play, I’d look at Gauff (+1200), but she is in that same quarter of the draw as Swiatek. You could take a flier on Pegula at +1000. I would take a bunch of players in the +1500 to +2000 range, as it would be wide open. I do see an American woman making the semis, if you want to attack it like that.

Snellings: Jabeur to win (+1200). After the season Swiatek just had, I agree she should be favored to win; but at +200 in a tough field, I don’t see value there. There are some hard hitters who have a chance to break through on the fast courts in Australia, including Caroline Garcia (+1000), Gauff (+1200), 2022 semifinalist Madison Keys (+2800) and 2022 finalist Collins (+2800). But I like Jabeur here because she spent the second half of last season knocking (hard) on the door for her first major. She made the finals of Wimbledon and the US Open, both on fast courts, and her odds of breaking through in Australia seem significantly better than 12-1.

If you had to pick a long shot on each the men’s and women’s draws, who would you play?

Gilbert: On the women’s side, I’d find a prop of an unseeded women to make the semis or choose two or three of them to make the quarterfinals. It happens almost every year at Aussie.

On the men’s side, here is an interesting one. Kyrgios (+1200) made that run to the final at Wimbledon last year, but he has not played yet this year and is in the same quarter as Djokovic, so you’ll get a nice price on Kyrgios. Plus, Kyrgios will have the home crowd behind him. I kind of like Fritz (+2000) in the bottom half of the draw as a mini flier. I also would expect an unseeded player to make a run to the semis, if you take a few fliers there.

Snellings: On the men’s side, it depends where you draw the line for “long shot.” Defending champion Nadal is +1400 to win. Auger-Aliassime and Sinner are young players with big game who could make a run, and both are +1600. But I’ll go with either Zverev +2500 or Tiafoe +5000 as my favorite long shots. Zverev, at his best, would be a legitimate favorite in the tier behind Djokovic, but Zverev is working himself back from injury, and the questions about his form are why his odds are so long.

Tiafoe is more of a true long shot, but he has shown that when he puts it together, he can compete with the champions on hard courts. He made a quarterfinal run at the Aussie in 2019, and in the last major of last season, he went through Nadal and played eventual champion Alcaraz to an absolute standstill in a five-set thriller in the semifinals of the 2022 US Open. At 50-1, it could be worth a flier to see if Tiafoe is ready to take the next step and break through in Australia.

On the women’s side, I’d go with either Keys or Collins, both at +2800 to win. Keys is a two-time semifinalist at the Australian Open, including last season, and has three total semis plus a finals appearance under her belt in the two hardcourt Slams (Aussie and US Opens). Collins was a semifinalist at the Aussie in 2019 and a finalist last season. She was up 5-1 in the second set before finally succumbing to since-retired Barty in the 2022 final. Both Keys and Collins are hard hitters, with the game to hit opponents off the court on the fast surfaces Down Under.

All odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *