Australian Open Men’s Singles Favorites

Story posted January 21, 2022 in Sports, CommRadio by Daniel Maiorana

Favorites such as Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Rafael Nadal have showcased their Grand Slam experience in the first few days of play. Novak Djokovic will not be in the conversation since the Australian Government sent him back to Serbia due to his failure to provide a COVID-19 vaccination.

The nine-time champion of the event will watch from the screen as the young guns of the tour look to make a name for themselves down under.

Rafael Nadal

Making the semifinals and finals numerous times, but only coming out victorious once in 2009 will sit in Nadal’s head during the tournament.

Nadal has not been tested by his opponents so far, but Russian Karen Khachanov will look to tighten up the Spaniard in a round-three matchup.

It will take patience for Nadal on the hard courts of Melbourne to come out successful in 2022. With all the younger players serving big and hitting big groundstrokes, Nadal will look to tire them out and make his way to a sixth Australian Open final.

Daniil Medvedev

Medvedev has the best odds to win the tournament, as he has surged onto the Grand Slam scene, beating Novak Djokovic in last year’s U.S. Open. With an argument, Medvedev is the best hardcourt player in the world right now. He has spoken on it himself how he feels most comfortable on the surface.

A unique style of play is what throws opponents off-guard, as he stands a football-fields length behind the baseline to return serve, assuring he is in every point in the match.

Players have yet to figure out how to out-groundstroke, as the man shocks the tennis world with 30 plus shot rallies then follows it by a bombing serve down the middle.

Alexander Zverev

Zverev has yet to etch his name into the conversation of Grand Slam winners, so 2022 is a great year to do just that. He constantly makes it far into the draw, but his weaknesses are ultimately brought out against other top players.

He will have to get past Nadal to make it to the semifinals, and an experienced Nadal will be a tough task if Zverev’s first serve isn’t there. We have seen great success from Zverev, already winning five Masters 1000 titles and an ATP tour finals championship at just 24 years old.

Zverev handles himself well from the baseline but struggles to finish points off at the net, relying on his serve too much at times. If Zverev wants to capture his first major title in Australia, an all-court game will have to be displayed in the late rounds of the tournament.

Stefanos Tsitsipas

Another young player, at just 23, who is looking for his first Grand Slam title is Tsitsipas. The all-surface game has given Tsitsipas success at all four majors, with his best accomplishment coming in 2020 when he reached the French Open but lost to the king of clay, Nadal.

A two-time Australian Open semifinalist, Tsitsipas knows how it feels to be on the big stage, but he has yet to capitalize against some of the other great players on the ATP tour. His side of the draw features Felix Auger-Aliassime as well as Medvedev, two top-ten players in the way of the Greek’s success.

A well-rounded, more old-school game has been appreciated by some of the game’s greats, so you feel it’s only a matter of time until Tsitsipas breaks the threshold of becoming a major champion.

Dark Horses

It’s hard not to mention Matteo Berrettini, who is the No. 7 player in the world. Making his first appearance in a Grand Slam final at last year’s Wimbledon, Berrettini has all the tools and composure one needs to make a run.

Carlos Alcaraz and Hubert Hurkacz both had breakthrough years in 2021. Hurkacz cracked the top ten and Alcaraz, just 19, has already made late rounds of major tournaments whilst knocking off top-ten players.

Watch out for young Americans Taylor Fritz and the big-serving Maxime Cressy, who have the heart and the skill to knock off some bigger-name players.

Daniel Maiorana is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email dkm5903@psu.edu