8:00 EASTERN TIME.
The first event of the Grand Slam year has finally arrived. The 2021 Australian Open will see a small return to normal as fans will be in attendance.
Despite the obstacles, from the 72 players who had to quarantine and train in their hotel rooms for 14 days after arrival, to the hotel employee who tested positive for COVID-19 and forced the players to return to isolation, the tournament is going ahead (see ESPN+ and ESPN App).
Our experts wonder who they hope will win in the men’s and women’s races and who they should keep an eye on in the battle for the crown.
Who will win the title in men’s singles?
Wrong: The film is not specified.Novak Djokovic trying to take his ninth Aussie Open title. AP Photo/Hamish Blair
James Blake: Novak Djokovic. He just has a lot of confidence going into it and continues to be the best player in the game.
Cliff Drysdale: Djokovic is the obvious choice given his wins in Melbourne, but it won’t be a gimmick with a tough draw.
Chris Evert: Rafael Nadal. I love his fighting spirit and I think he’s hungry for another Grand Slam title.
Brad Gilbert: I would like to see Nadal become number 21, but Joker is the big favorite because he is so hard to beat under. In any case, I’ll pick the new champion: it will be Stefanos Tsitsipas or Daniil Medvedev, but I’m leaning toward the young Greek winning his first Slam.
Jason Goodall: Beating Djokovic in Melbourne is almost – not quite, but almost – as difficult as beating Nadal at Roland Garros. Novak against the court? Novak.
Djokovic. It’s hard to pick anyone else given the success he’s had eight times at this tournament. But there are other things going on for him this year, I think. First of all, the way he came out of the US Open. Yes, it was his fault, and he apologized, but you know it’s been burning him up inside ever since. Second, physical fitness and mental toughness. Nobody stays in shape, and this award goes to the person who is in the best shape and can handle the mental pressures of midlife.
Luke Jensen: Novak Djokovic just can’t lose in these conditions. The speed of the court and the extremely hot Australian summer weather give him the advantage.
D’Arcy Man: Djokovic. The world number one has yet to win any slams played in 2020 and has made more than his fair share of off-court headlines lately, but it still seems impossible to count him among us in Melbourne. It’s hard to believe that anyone has a better chance of winning this tournament than he does.
Jake Michaels: Dominic Thiem The Austrian won his first major title last year and dreams of increasing his chances of beating Djokovic at Melbourne Park.
Patrick McEnroe: The change of defense comes with Medvedev against Thiem in the final after Nadal and Joker each scored in the semifinals.
Chris McKendree: Djokovic grabs hat trick and extends his record to nine Australian Open titles The world’s best hard court player carries an air of invincibility in Melbourne. And no one believes that more than himself.
Pam Shriver: Medvedev, because I’m tired of betting on Djokovic or Nadal, and Medvedev came into good form toward the end of 2020 and seems to have held on to that this week at the ATP Cup. He likes difficult terrain and together with Thiem wants to break the dominance of the big three over the majors. (I’m afraid Medvedev has never won a pentathlon, but that too will change in Melbourne).
Renna Stubbs: Like Rafael Nadal in Paris, Djokovic is the man to beat in Australia.
Djokovic. He loves Melbourne, wants to win and seems to love having his back against the wall. Djokovic has had, how shall I put it, an interesting year in 2020, but knowing he is the champion, his eyes are on Norman Brooks’ ninth trophy.
Who will win the women’s singles title?
Error. specified.Naomi Osaka is not specified.the favorite to win the first Grand Slam of the year. Photo: Andy Chung/Getty Images
Blake: Ashley Barty. She has received the best training in controlling her environment rather than quarantining it.
Naomi Osaka. Unlike many women, she believes. Win, and she’s on the right track.
Serena Williams. It’s now or never. She moves better, she’s stronger, and the rest of the field isn’t that hard.
Gilbert: The bottom half of the women’s rankings are absolutely loaded, but my money is on Osaka. She is currently the best hard court player in the women’s world.
Goodall: Osaka is clearly the favorite. Also, the fact that other players have not been able to participate in many tournaments since the US Open gives Serena her best chance in years.
Gore: Simona Halep. She had the advantage of being quarantined in Adelaide, which probably did her good mentally. Her physical condition is generally better, so I think she will outperform most of her opponents in the long matches. She was a finalist here and reached the semifinals last year.
Jensen: Osaka has a great combination of first and second shots that separates it from the outfield. She has a tough mentality that allows her to play well after a setback like the final of the US Open in 2020. The speed of Melbourne’s courts is a perfect match for her powerful style of play.
Maine: Osaka. Did you see how she played in the US Open? She was almost unstoppable, even when she had to play up to three sets against very strong opponents, and seemed to be at the top of her game. Unlike her last appearance in Melbourne as defending champion, she seems comfortable with her role as favorite. It’s hard to imagine anyone being able to beat her on the hard courts.
Michaels: Sophia Kenin. There’s no reason why Kenin can’t return to Australia. In 2020 she scored an impressive 16-2, and with another year of experience she should be able to do better.
McEnroe: Barty will be a big gift to the Australian fans and the WTA, because I see her beating Halep in the final to win the title. Serena will have a good race, but I don’t see her beating Halep.
McKendree: Osaka has a tough draw ahead, but aren’t all the women there this year? It starts in 2021 when the 2020 Grand Slam season concludes – with the title.
Shriver: Despite a tough draw (perhaps the toughest half of the women’s main draw), Osaka will take a giant step towards becoming the most dominant figure of their generation on hardcourt with her fourth major title. She has also managed to control her extraordinary power in the most tense moments (she is 3-0 in the major finals).
Stubbs: When the courts are faster, Osaka is the one to beat. She’s healthy and confident, and she loves playing in Melbourne. She’s in good shape and she plays with more confidence than anyone else.
Barty. I call him… Australia wins the first Australian Open on home soil since Chris O’Neil in 1978. Of course she had a year of “rest,” but she worked on her game and didn’t have to be quarantined in hotels.
Which male player can do a surprise race to win?
Error. Don’t film don’t film specified.This year Alexander Zverev might be in the top 3. Photo by TPN/Getty Images
Blake: Andrei Rublev. I love the way he plays. He won five titles last year and he just needs to put them together in a Slam.
Denis Shapovalov. He is both annoying and talented, but like the Joker, he has a tougher side.
Evert: Stefanos Tsitsipas believes he can beat the best players and his improvement is evident.
Gilbert: I would love to see someone 21 and under make it to the semifinals and an American make it to the second week.
Goodall: Rublev should at least make the quarterfinals, although he is not yet ready to win. Among the lowest-ranked young players, note Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz, who is following in Nadal’s footsteps.
Gore: Alexander Zverev. His personal problems outside the courtroom distracted him, but in Melbourne he achieved progressive success. He has the talent to win it all and can feel less intrusive away from all the scrutiny he has been subjected to in Europe.
I love Sandgren Tennis. In the past, Sandgren has played the Australian in the quarterfinals in 2018 and 2020, and last year he had a match point against Roger Federer in the quarterfinals. Grab some popcorn for the first round as Sandgren takes on 21st seeded Australian Alex de Minaur. It will be a great battle between two of the best players on the ATP Tour.
Maine: Yannick Sinner. The 19-year-old reached the quarterfinals of Roland Garros and won his first ATP title at the Sofia Open in November. It seems only a matter of time before he challenges the dominance of the big three and picks up a major trophy. If he can avoid Shapovalov in the first round, why not now?
Make your choice and play for a chance to win $1,000! Make your choice.
Michaels: Stan Wawrinka. He reached the quarterfinals in three of his last five major appearances and is a former winner of the Australian Open (2014). Have him disqualified at your own risk.
McEnroe: Felix Auger Aliasim is ready for a breakthrough.
McKendree: Rublev. Although he has never taken a set from Medvedev, Rublev will shock his compatriots in the quarterfinals and continue to battle for the title.
Shrimp: Rublev. He will have more titles in 2020 than any other male player and is as ready to win a major as any other player in the game.
Tsitsipas. He loves Melbourne, he has good memories of it, he beat Roger Federer and he plays faster on the court, it suits him. If he can control his emotions, he will be a great threat.
Zverev. Could he still be in the top three this year? Last year, in Melbourne, he lost in the semifinals to the second-seeded Thiem. In that match, he won the first set and forced two tie-breaks. The 23-year-old is not far behind.
Which player can do a surprise race to win?
Wrong: The film is not specified.When Gabrin Muguruza is at her best, she’s always a threat. Andy Cheung/Getty Images
Jennifer Brady. She played so well on hardcourt at the US Open and I think she can do it again.
Considering she is now outside the top five, Serena. There’s no way to bet against the goat. But there’s also Coco Gauff and Victoria Azarenka. Either of them would benefit from an easier draw in the top half.
Evert: Victoria Azarenka believes she can beat anyone, and her training performance has been outstanding.
Gilbert: Lately, at almost every Slam tournament, a player who hasn’t played yet makes it to the semifinals. I see it happening again. Let’s stick with the American, who is making the run in singles that I was hoping for. Maybe someone outside the top 15 can make a deep run.
Goodall: Brady will try to build on his great performance at the US Open, while Francesca Jones will make her debut in a major discipline after qualifying for the Middle East. She is a brilliant player (with three fingers and a thumb on each hand) who will be up against the best in the world.
Gore: Azarenka. The two-time Australian champion seems to be in a very good mood after turning 40. I love the maturity she is showing in dealing with everything that has happened as a result of the pandemic. She knows her days are numbered in this sport and she wants to win this major. Serena, Osaka and Kenin seem to have injury problems, so I could see Vika going on and winning the title.
I love Brady here. By reaching the semifinals at the 2020 US Open and winning the WTA tournament in Lexington, Kentucky, she has become a player to keep an eye on at every major tournament. In 2017, Brady reached the fourth round in Melbourne and has since become a full-fledged, supreme competitor at all levels.
Maine: Arina Sabalenka. It’s no surprise to anyone who has followed her recent results (she won titles in Ostrava and Linz to end the year and opened the season in Abu Dhabi), but she never got beyond the fourth round of the majors. She has the chance – could it finally be a Slam where she makes her breakthrough?
Michaels: Serena. I’m not sure it would be a surprise if Williams picked up the trophy at the end of a two-week competition, but she hasn’t won a major since 2017.
Maria Saccari should have a good race.
Garbine Muguruza loves Grand Slams and seems to be the strongest and most consistent player in the lineup.
I didn’t expect to name someone coming out of a 14-day quarantine, but Brady is going to play another important role. His semifinal at the US Open was impressive and gave him confidence for the majors. His forehand and serve are poised to become one of the strongest 1-2 strokes in women’s tennis.
Muguruza. She’s a great player and she loves the court and the atmosphere here. At her best, she’s always a threat. There are a handful of women outside the top four who can win, but she could be the one to break through.
Muguruza. She doesn’t mind playing in Melbourne and after a good race to the final last year and a very hot Australian summer in 2021, she could win it all.
Frequently asked questions
Will there be an Australian Open in 2021?
The 2021 Australian Open will be held at Melbourne Park from February 8 to 21. … The 2021 Australian Open includes matches in singles, doubles and wheelchair. Qualification for the AO takes place overseas, with the women’s tournament in Dubai and the men’s tournament in Doha from January 10-13.
2021 Australian Open Tennis Championships ?
The 2021 Australian Open begins on Sunday, February 7 in North America (Melbourne is 16 hours ahead of the East Coast) and ends on the weekend of February 20 and 21 with the women’s final at midnight on February 20 and the men’s final at midnight on February 21.
Who are the favorites to win the Australian Open?
William Hill Sportsbook rates Djokovic as a +110 favorite in the most recent listings for the 2021 Australian Open. Nadal, Daniel Medvedev and Dominic Thiem complete the top four candidates for the 2021 Australian Open.
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