Australian Open 2024 preview: Djokovic wants rewrite history, who can stop him?

The Serbian champion is the big favorite heading into the first Major of the season: Alcaraz, Sinner and Medvedev will try to block his way to his 25th Slam title

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Australian Open 2024 preview: Djokovic wants rewrite history, who can stop him?
© Lintao Zhang / Staff Getty Images Sport

Novak Djokovic is chasing his 25th Slam title and 11th Australian Open trophy, in Melbourne. The path traced by the draw presents him with a board with some pitfalls along his path. If his wrist does not represent an obstacle, the Serbian will be the main favorite for the first Major tournament of the season.

The draw gave Djokovic a first-round opponent from the qualifiers. In the second round, for the Serbian champion, there will be a certainly Australian player who will emerge from the challenge between Popyrin and the wild card Polmans.

In the third round there could be a challenge with the top seed Etcheverry, who however will challenge Andy Murray, five-time finalist at the Australian Open, on his debut. The Briton certainly has that third round against Nole as his objective, with which he lost several finals in Melborune.

But lurking there is also another old glory of the Tour like Gael Monfils, opposite the German Hanfmann. The top seeds who should compete for the chance to face Djokovic in the round of 16 are the Frenchman Adrian Mannarino and the American Ben Shelton, in what could be a rematch of the semi-final of the 2023 US Open.

Djokovic© Quinn Rooney / Staff Getty Images Sport

In the quarterfinals the world number one could find himself facing one of Fritz or Stefanos Tsitsipas, who has drawn Matteo Berrettini himself. In the semi-final there could be the clash expected by fans between Novak and Jannik Sinner, who together with Andrey Rublev presides over the second quarter of the draw.

If he manages to reach the final, the 36-year-old player would have to cross one of Carlitos Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Holger Rune on paper, to win the 25th Slam of his career.

Carlos Alcaraz's path

Caritos will be more motivated than ever in Melbourne.

The Spaniard missed the last edition of the Happy Slam due to the muscle injury suffered during one of the last training sessions carried out on the eve of his departure for Melbourne. Alcaraz was unable to defend the first position in the world ranking on the field, which he had achieved a few months earlier at the US Open, and then returned directly to the ATP 250 tournament in Buenos Aires.

Alcaraz will make his debut at the 2024 Australian Open next Tuesday and will find Richard Gasquet.

Alcaraz© Kelly Defina / Stringer Getty Images Sport

The Frenchman, after the defeat against Arthur Fils in Auckland, will leave the top 100 after almost 19 years.

In the event that he overcomes the Gasquet obstacle, Alcaraz would challenge one of Lorenzo Sonego or Daniel Evans in the second round. The first seed standing in his way is Alexander Bublik. Two players are eligible to reach the round of 16 in the same portion of the draw as Alcaraz: Tommy Paul and Jan-Lennard Struff.

The biggest threat in the quarterfinals could take the form of Alexander Zverev. The German started the season in the best way and led Germany to the United Cup. The team led by Torben Beltz had an incredible journey and defeated Poland in the final.

Zverev will still have to beat competition from tennis players such as Jiri Lehecka, Cameron Norrie and Casper Ruud. Closing the lower part of the draw are Daniil Medvedev, Grigor Dimitrov, Hubert Hurkacz and Holger Rune, who could be Alcaraz's opponents in the semi-final, before a possible final either against Djokovic or against Sinner.

Jannik Sinner's path

Sinner's round of 16 opponent is expected to come out between No. 17 seed Frances Tiafoe who takes on Borna Coric in the first round and the tournament's No. 15 seed Karen Khachanov. For the quarter-final match, the number one suspect as Sinner's opponent seems to be the number 5 in the world Andrey Rublev but be careful because there are some loose cannons in the area such as the number 10 seed Alex De Minaur or the number 29 seeding Sebastian Korda.

Sinner© Jonathan DiMaggio / Stringer Getty Images Sport

As mentioned, Sinner's semifinal opponent could be Novak Djokovic or, with less probability, Stefanos Tsitsipas. Placed on the opposite side of the scoreboard and therefore possible opponents for Sinner only in the final, Rune, Medvedev, Zverev and Alcaraz.

Daniil Medvedev's path

The first dangers could come in the third round, when Medvedev could play against the winner of the first round match between Felix Auger Aliassime and the Austrian Dominic Thiem. Although it must be said, to be fair, that neither of the Russian's two possible opponents is going through one of the best moments of their career.

In the round of 16 the bar could be raised given that the opponent could be Grigor Dimitrov who appeared in excellent condition at the Brisbane tournament and won in the final over Holger Rune.

Medvedev© Graham Denholm / Stringer Getty Images Sport

Davidovich Fokina is also in the area.

In the quarter-finals, the two most trusted seeds are the Dane Holger Rune and the Polish Hubert Hurkacz but be careful because the Frenchman Arthur Fils is also in the area. Medvedev is in the bottom half of the draw, so the most likely opponents for a possible semi-final in this case would be the Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz and the German Alexander Zverev.

Possible meeting only in the final for Medvedev in the case of Novak Djokovic, Stefanos Tsitsipas or Jannik Sinner, all drawn in the upper part of the draw.

Australian Open Alcaraz