Novak Djokovic is a short-priced favorite to win the Australian Open but his great rival Rafael Nadal could be the value pick going into the first Grand Slam event of the year.
Who do Bettors Favor?
As we can see from the best-rated online sportsbooks Novak Djokovic is the big favorite to win the tournament on his return to the Australian Open. Bookmakers make Djokovic the -125 favorite, ahead of Daniil Medvedev at +500. The remainder of the leading contenders are closely bunched, with Rafael Nadal the third favorite at +1200 and Australia’s leading hope Nick Kyrgios available at +1250.
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Australian Open Betting Briefing
The Australian Open is the first Grand Slam event of the year and provides an early test of the best players’ credentials as they aim to start the season strong following the winter break.
Some players take longer than others to get match fit, and the Australian Open betting markets can be volatile right up to the start of the tournament proper on January 16, so it is important to check the tennis news regularly to ensure that you don’t miss anything.
The courts in Melbourne are based on the plexicushion surface and are generally considered to be some of the fastest surfaces in the world, rated 4 out of 5 on the ITF speed scale, which is officially designated as ‘medium-fast’, and some players say the surfaces speed up slightly during the tournament.
It is also worth noting that the bounce on these courts can be higher during the heat of the day than for evening games when lower temperatures cause the tennis balls to contract slightly and become heavier, so big servers and players who excel on fast courts can benefit from being on court later in the day.
Djokovic the Bookies’ Favorite for Australian Open 2023
Novak Djokovic is back in Australia and seems keen to put last year’s controversy behind him, though winning over the Australian crowd may take some time.
There is plenty of reason for Djokovic to be optimistic, however, and it is not hard to see why he is the bookies’ favorite this year. The Australian Open is his best Grand Slam event, based on the statistics at least. He has won this event nine times and has a match success rate of 91%. His next most successful Grand Slam tournament is the US Open, which he has won seven times with a 90% win rate.
The fact that Carlos Alvarez, the world number one, will be missing through injury also boosts Djokovic’s chances, however, tennis punters should be cautious about backing him at short odds, particularly given the hamstring twinge that he suffered in a warmup game on Thursday.
The Main Contenders for Australian Open Glory
Daniil Medvedev is rated the best of the main contenders for the Australian Open after making the final in 2021 and again last year, losing out to Djokovic and Rafael Nadal respectively. Yet according to the draw for this year’s event, he is likely to meet Nadal in the quarter-final and has only beaten his Spanish rival once in six attempts over the last four years, so he doesn’t offer much value here.
The same can’t be said of Nadal. Injury is a constant concern for Nadal-backers but at the current odds, there is plenty of compensation for bettors who stick with him. Nadal’s preference for clay court surfaces means he is often available at bigger odds for those who appreciate his greatness.
To my mind, Nick Kyrgios is a much bigger risk than Nadal, and at similar odds. The combustible Aussie is showing signs of fulfilling his potential but we have been down this road many times before and I’d want much better odds than are currently available to persuade me to bet on him to win his first Grand Slam.
Other Australian Open Betting Picks
Only once since 2006 has a player other than Djokovic, Nadal or Roger Federer won the Australian Open, so with both Djokovic and Nadal taking part this season, history suggests that wagering on any other option might be a waste of time.
Yet all eras come to an end and eventually, the next generation will have its moment. Both Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas both seem likely candidates to challenge the big guns this season, but this is not Ruud’s best surface, while Tsitsipas is a three-time semi-finalist in this event. The rising star of Greek tennis is set to meet Nadal in the semi-final, but while he has an overall 2-7 record against the Spaniard, his last win came at this tournament two years ago, so he could be a good pick at big odds.