Novak Djokovic poses with his 2021 Australian Open trophy. He has won the past three Australian Opens that he has played in.
The 111th edition of the Australian Open began on January 16th, 2023. With world number one Carlos Alcaraz recently withdrawing due to a leg injury, the draw seems wide open for both top-ranked veterans like Nadal and Djokovic and top-ranked youngsters like Fritz, Medvedev, and Ruud. Nadal’s recent performances have not been as showstopping as they were a year ago, and he does not seem to be a favorite in defending his title. On the other hand, Djokovic is coming off a very strong start to his season, having just won the Adelaide International, putting him in a prime position to win his 10th title in Australia. Despite this, the younger generation is also extremely talented—the US Open Final being between two players under 25 years of age, Casper Ruud and Carlos Alcaraz. Other strong contenders include Stefanos Tsitsipas, who is coming off a strong showing in the inaugural United Cup against fellow youngster Matteo Berrettini. With all that said, let’s jump right into the predictions.
Contenders: As it currently stands, I can only really see 4 players that have a possibility of winning the 2023 AO. These players are: Casper Ruud, Novak Djokovic, Felix Auger-Alliasime, and Daniil Medvedev. Firstly, Ruud has been playing the tennis of his life and is currently ranked 3rd in the world. Also, considering his disappointing loss at the US Open this past year, Ruud has some extra motivation to fire him up. Novak Djokovic is also playing some of the best tennis of all time. As previously mentioned, Djokovic has been unstoppable, winning 5 of his last 6 tournaments, including the ATP Finals and Wimbledon. Moving on, Canadian Felix Auger-Alliasimeis is also a title contender, having recently beaten Djokovic at the Laver Cup in a thrilling match. His game has only continued to improve since then, so a far run for him should be in store. Last but not least, Medvedev. While Medvedev is the only member of the original Next Gen to win a Grand Slam, Medvedev has endured a bit of a rough stretch recently. Despite this, I expect great things as the Russian opens up his 2023 season. To be quite frank, the draw this year is wide open, so be prepared for a wild, wild couple of weeks.
While not in my top group, I also expect many players to make deep runs in the coming tournament. My contenders include: Stefanos Tsitsipas, Taylor Fritz, Holger Rune, Matteo Berrettini, Jannik Sinner, and Nick Kygrios. These players all have great games and tons of potential, which makes me confident that they can make it far. Even though Tsitsipas has not reached the final of a slam since 2021 Roland Garros, his current form is promising. Taylor Fritz will use his massive serve and forehand to open up the court and his side of the draw, but lingering questions about his movement and durability remain a concern; for now, he is a solid contender. Holger Rune is an up-and-coming name in the tennis world, having just defeated Djokovic in Paris to win his first Masters 1000 title. Rune will hope to build on an explosive end to the 2022 season with a deep run in Melbourne. The two Italians, Berrettini and Sinner, are also poised to do well, both playing well recently. Nick Kyrgios is a particularly interesting name, as he won the AO Doubles in 2022 which begs the question - what is his priority? Will he attempt to win his maiden singles Grand Slam or focus solely on his doubles title defense? Either way, with the often raucous Australian crowd backing him, you can be sure that he will make a great run and put on a great show.
Quarter Finalists: I consider these players to be solid, and can foresee a decent performance possibly resulting in a quarter-final. This list includes: Rafael Nadal, Andrey Rublev, Hubert Hurkacz, Frances Tiafoe, Alex de Minaur, and Lorenzo Musetti. With Nadal’s current form leaving him looking older and older by the day, I am unsure of his ability to defend his 2022 title. All the other players in this category are in the top 25, but due to individual slights, I don’t see any of them advancing past the QFs.
Mid Round Exits: While these players are still top quality, I believe it is unlikely any of them will make it very far. These players are: Denis Shapovalov, Pablo Carreno Busta, Cameron Norrie, Karen Khachanov, Diego Schwartzman, Marin Cilic, Dan Evans, Tommy Paul, and Alexander Bublik.
All other players in the draw are not on my radar for a title run. All in all, this year's Australian Open seems very promising, with a wide-open draw for the first time in many years.
Editor’s Note: Nick Kyrgios has recently withdrawn from the 2023 AO due to a knee injury.