Australian Open 2020 Predictions: The Men’s Seeds
We are now deep into January, which means its Australian Open time! The top players have already been in Australia playing the first edition of the ATP Cup, so you have to believe they will all show up in top form at the first slam of the year. Although it’s a brand-new year, don’t expect many surprises at the Australian Open. The players that were ruling the tour in the last four months of 2019, will continue to rule at the Australian Open.
So, what’s the story line? Well, the story line will again be Old Guard vs. Next Gen with the New Guard getting the advantage in my opinion. After the US Open, which was brilliantly won by Nadal, the Old Guard got spanked by the Next Gen. I expect a continuation of this trend. Let’s look at the top five seeds and some of the dark horses.
1. Rafa Nadal: although Nadal historically goes deep at the Australian Open, he’s only won the tournament once in 2009. That’s 11 years ago! I expect him to go deep again, however, this Spaniard will save his best Paella for the French Open.
2. Novak Djokovic: the clear favorite in my opinion. He didn’t have strong results in the second half of last year, but that doesn’t matter because Novak is the King of the Australian Open. He holds seven titles down under, and if there are any doubts of his form, just look at how strong he looked at the ATP Cup. He loves the Australian courts. And they love him.
3. Novak Djokovic: the clear favorite in my opinion. He didn’t have strong results in the second half of last year, but that doesn’t matter because Novak is the King of the Australian Open. He holds seven titles down under, and if there are any doubts of his form, just look at how strong he looked at the ATP Cup. He loves the Australian courts. And they love him.
4. Roger Federer: after Novak, nobody has been more consistent as of late at the Australian Open. Let’s not forget that Roger’s revival started by winning the 2017 Australian Open, and he followed that up by defending the title in 2018. Like Novak, Roger didn’t have a great second half of the year. However, do discount him to go deep and possibly take the whole tournament if things are going his way. Plus, he’ll be nice and rested headed into the tournament.
5. Dominic Thiem: don’t expect much of Thiem down under. If history is any indication, he’ll bow out in the early rounds. He’s already thinking about the clay court season and the French Open, which he’ll most likely win this year.
6. Daniil Medvedev: After Novak, my other favorite. If the ATP Cup was any indication, Medvedev has not dipped in form. It took a monumental effort from Djokovic to beat Medvedev in three sets at the ATP Cup, and it may be a preview of the final down under. You had a feeling that if that match was a best of five, the edge would have gone to the younger legs of Medvedev.
Outside those the top five guys, the only other player that has an outside chance in my opinion is Tsitsipas, coincidentally the sixth ranked player. He is the defending ATP Finals champion and is maturing into a heck of a player. He upset Federer on his way to the semis last year, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him deep into the second week.
Australians trending: Alex De Maurier and Nick Kyrgios are playing in home soil. De Maurier is starting to look like a baseline headache for anyone not named Nadal. Both these players may ride their wave of ATP Cup semis appearance with a strong showing behind a home crowd.