Misc Tennis

Australian Open 2024 – Ranking the tournament’s top players

Australian Open 2024 - Ranking the tournament's top players

The 2024 Australian Open is upon us. It will not feature Rafael Nadal, as we hoped it might, but there’s more than enough to track over the coming fortnight.

It gives us the first episode of the new season of “Novak Djokovic Is Here Until Someone Knocks Him Off His Perch,” after the 36-year-old won the 22nd, 23rd and 24th Grand Slam titles of his career in 2023.

It offers Coco Gauff an encore attempt after she rolled to her first Slam title at the 2023 US Open. It brings us new mother Naomi Osaka’s first Slam match in 16 months. (Another Slam-winning mom, Angelique Kerber, returns after a similar break.)

It also resumes the burgeoning rivalry between Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka, who traded the WTA No. 1 ranking back and forth in 2023. It offers a new chapter for Carlos Alcaraz, who’s looking for his third Slam title before his 21st birthday, and a new breakthrough opportunity for Jannik Sinner, who’s looking for his first at 22.

It resumes the story of American Ben Shelton, the 21-year-old former Florida Gator, who enjoyed an up-and-down first full year on the tour but ended it with a US Open semifinal appearance and his first career ATP title in October.

There’s a lot to follow. Here are 20 players that could make particularly large splashes over two lovely weeks in Melbourne.

Tier 1: Favorites

Novak Djokovic
ESPN BET initial title odds: -110
Tennis Abstract initial odds: 34%

He has won 29 straight Australian Open matches and 35 of his past 36 in Slams. If you want to reach further back, he has gone 66-3 in Slams since the start of 2021. He maintains nearly impossible fitness, and as he has reached his mid-30s, his mental game has lapped the field to a point that he’s almost become better at this age than he was in his physical prime. Among top-50 players, only Stefanos Tsitsipas (69.9%) has won a higher percentage of service points than he has (69.6%) over the past 52 weeks, and only Carlos Alcaraz (42.0%) has won a higher percentage of return points (41.2%).

If we…

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