Tennis

Players to look out for at the Australian Open 2021

Joel Smith  |  Thursday 31st December 2020
Will ATP Tour veterans be able to stave off the onslaught that’s about to come from the young guns?

Held at the start of the new tennis season, the Australian Open is the one grand slam event of the year that can throw a shock or two into the mix.

Which players have overtrained in the off-season or come into the first major out of shape? All such questions will be answered soon enough, as the tournament begins on the February 8, having been delayed by a week. Melbourne Park is expected to allow 50% of its usual crowd attendances in for the two-week tournament.

In this article, we check some up-and-coming players who despite their long odds should not be discounted as genuine title contenders.

Players Who May Miss Out

Before we pick out the players who should be watched carefully at the 2021 Australian Open, we should mention some players who cannot make the trip to Melbourne, with injuries hampering their year before it has even begun, meaning their names will likely be missing from the odds lines at betting sites in early February.

The biggest name among the absentees is of course Roger Federer, who after two knee surgeries at the end of 2020 has been battling to be fit for the opening grand slam of the season and recently confirmed he won’t make the trip to Australia. His absence will fuel the fires of rivals such as Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, whose odds will be tipped to shorten on Australian betting sites like these as the tournament start date nears.

Another former grand slam winner who will not be making a glorious return down under is Juan Martín del Potro, whose long-awaited comeback is still on ice.

On the women’s side of the tournament, world number nine Kiki Bertens is out of contention with an Achilles tendon injury, and Bianca Andreescu is still gingerly making her way back to full fitness after a torrid 2020. That leaves the door open for players like Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams to claim the glory.

The Australian Open starts on Feb 8 at Melbourne Park

Nick Kyrgios

If the reports from his training camp are to be believed, then this fiery Australian will be in the best physical condition of his career at the Australian Open in 2021.

His best effort in Melbourne is a quarter final appearance in 2015, but everyone on the tour knows that his huge serve and devastating ground shots can leave egg on the face of any top ten players.

Aryna Sabalenka

Standing at 6ft tall and boasting the booming serve that would not look out of place on the ATP Tour, this Belarusian has all the tools to thrive at the Aussie Open, and many tour insiders believe this could be the 22-year-old’s breakout year.

She is already a top ten ranked player and has shown her pedigree in the Fed Cup, so now it could be time for her to make a deep grand slam run.

Nadia Podoroska

This Argentine announced herself on the world stage when she managed to become the first-ever qualifier to make it to the semi-finals of Roland Garros.

Although her game is better suited to clay, she could well cause some major upsets Down Under this year.

Daniil Medvedev

Finally comes this Russian enigma, who much like Kyrgios has the capability to run ice cold or scoldingly hot.

He was the tour’s form player at the end of last season, taking down the ATP Tour Finals in London, and he has already been to the final of the US Open. If the draw is kind to him, the world number four could go one better in Melbourne.

Tickets are now on sale to the 2021 Australian Open at Melbourne Park and are available through Ticketmaster. Find out all the tournament info here.

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