Aus Open men's singles preview: Djokovic challenges Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal

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Aus Open men's singles preview: Djokovic challenges Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal

Novak Djokovic is ready to defend his reign at the Australian Open 2020, defending last season's title from the assaults of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Daniil Medvedev, Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas. from 20 January to 2 February 2020 Melbourne Park will be like a dream theatre, where the great champions will compete to win the 108th edition of the Australian Open, the 52nd in the Open Era.

Djokovic is the favorite for the final victory. The Serb holds the title record in Melbourne (7) and, as seen at the recent edition of the ATP Cup, he plays practically perfect tennis on hard-courts, especially, how we saw in the victory against Rafael Nadal.

It will also depend on the speed of the courts: if they are slower than last year or if they are faster like the 2017-2018 two-year period. Nadal, a finalist last year, starts one step behind Djokovic. The Spaniard plays against a real curse at Melbourne Park, where he won only one title, now almost ten years ago.

Yet Rafa played two finals in the last three editions, obviating a playing surface never favorable to him. Who perhaps has more chances than Nadal is Roger Federer? The Swiss Maestro can beat anyone on hard-courts and his tennis is perfectly suited to Melbourne's courts, secularly if they are as fast as in 2017 and 2018.

His real problem, more than physical shape, will be the mental factor, especially if he will have Djokovic in front. Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas will have concrete chances to reach the final too. The surface is perfect for their tennis and the improvements seen in 2019 suggest a definitive leap of quality.

Especially Medvedev is already a very strong player on hard-courts, as he already demonstrated reaching the final at the US Open. His tennis doesn't give a reference point, and this could put all his opponents in serious difficulty, even if they respond to the names of Djokovic, Nadal and Federer.

As for outsiders, the first on the list is definitely Nick Kyrgios. He plays at home: the crowd and the desire to do well also for what is going on in Australia with the fires will give Kyrgios additional motivation to do well.

In addition, his tennis, if helped by an adequate mental condition, adapts perfectly to the fields of Melbourne Park. Dominic Thiem, although hard-court is not his favorite surface, will also have chances. The Austrian achieved significant improvements on this surface in 2019, and perhaps, with a certainly already good physical condition, it could be a problem for many colleagues.

Stan Wawrinka, Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic could be the surprises of the tournament. Not for the final victory, but I expect them to play an excellent Australian Open, reaching at least the second week. A lot of curiosity for Jannik Sinner.

The young Italian, perhaps the greatest promise of ATP Tennis, will be able to compare his progress on his favorite surface, against the greatest tennis players on the planet. Australian Open 2020 - Men's singles percentages Novak Djokovic 30% Roger Federer 20% Rafael Nadal 20% Daniil Medvedev 20% Stefanos Tsitsipas 20% Outsiders: Nick Kyrgios, Dominic Thiem, Grigor Dimitrov