With the exception of 2014 (Stan Wawrinka) and 2009 (Raphael Nadal), the last thirteen years of the Australian Open have been dominated by two men: Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic is the outright favourite for this year’s tournament, which begins on January 14th. Currently priced at 11/10 by most bookmakers, the world number one is the bookies’ favourite by a mile – despite recent complaints of fatigue on the back of a grueling schedule at the tail end of 2018 – with long-time rival Federer priced as second favorite at 5/1 only.
The large differential in pricing by bookmakers appears, however, to be factoring in that it is now over a decade since Federer has beaten Djokovic in a Grand Slam final – the US Open of 2007.
And at 37, Federer appears unlikely to add too many more titles to his current world record of twenty Grand Slams – only three of those have come in the last six years.
Nadal Doubts, Zverev Quietly Confident
At 7/1 and 8/1 respectively, Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev are the only other entrants who have been handed single-digit odds to win this year’s Australian Open. Nadal is currently nursing a thigh injury but appears confident of mounting a serious challenge.
At 21 years of age, Zverev is the youngest player in the ATP’s top ten, and spent the entirety of 2018 in its top five. With doubts hanging over Nadal’s fitness, Djokovic’s current frame of mind and Federer’s age, the Zverev camp will be entering into the tournament with high hopes for a first Grand Slam for the German who arguably represents the tournament’s only candidate for a value bet.