The 2022 Australian Open is going to be a spectacle both on and off the court. With some massive legacy implications for the top players in the draw, and controversy surrounding the number one player in the world, the fortnight down under is set to be one of the most memorable in recent memory. Here, we will take a look at the key storylines for the 2022 Australian Open and make some pre-tournament tennis picks in the outright markets.
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Australian Open Outright Betting Pick
The best bet in the Australian Open outright markets should be Daniil Medvedev at +150. Medvedev is coming off of his first major breakthrough at the 2021 US Open, beating Novak Djokovic in straight sets to claim the biggest title of his career. This time around, Medvedev should be able to cash in at the Australian Open for the first time in his career.
He will be aided by the drama surrounding Novak Djokovic at this point in time, as Djokovic will miss the tournament after a back-and-forth few weeks regarding his visa status in Australia. Djokovic has not been permitted to play in the tournament, as a lucky loser will play in the spot reserved for the number one seed in the event. As a result of his removal from the draw, Medvedev will be a favorite in every match he plays at this tournament.
Medvedev’s losses at hardcourt majors since 2019 have come against Novak Djokovic twice, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Stan Wawrinka. Four of those five losses came against the eventual champion of those tournaments, with Wawrinka being the lone outlier. With the way the draw is set up, Medvedev shouldn’t face much in the way of pressure until the final against the likes of Zverev or Nadal. That sets up the ability to hedge in the final for a profit, barring an early upset for the number two player in the world.
Australian Open 2022 Key Storylines
Novak Djokovic: Barred From Competing
The biggest storyline coming into this US Open is the fact that Novak Djokovic will not play in the Australian Open. He is not a vaccinated player, and has had his requests for exemption denied, approved, and then denied again in the lead up to this tournament. With his final plea in court being denied, Djokovic will have to wait until the 2022 French Open to have a chance at a record 21st major championship.
Without Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev has become the sole favorite to win the tournament, while the path to the final gets easier for players like Sascha Zverev and Rafael Nadal in the top half of the draw. The tennis world is always worse off when a top star is unable to play in a Grand Slam event, but the decision that has been made will not be changed and Djokovic will have to focus on the future from here.
Can Daniil Medvedev Win Another Major?
Without Djokovic playing in this event, the spotlight will be firmly focused on Daniil Medvedev at the 2022 Australian Open. The Russian won his first major title in 2021, taking down Djokovic at the final hurdle of the latter’s attempt at sealing the calendar slam last season. Now, Medvedev will look to win a second straight major, and a first Australian Open crown.
As always, the heat will be something to keep an eye on when it comes to Medvedev. He has long suffered from cramps that could impact his performance if the heat puts too much strain on his body. But he survived the heat in New York without much issue, and appears ready to become a winner of multiple majors in the very near future, whether that be during this year’s Australian Open or elsewhere.
Who Are The Dark Horses?
Outside of Medvedev, there are only two players at under 15/1 odds to win the Australian Open: Sascha Zverev and Rafael Nadal. Zverev has yet to win a major title, despite coming close in the US Open before dropping the final in five sets to Dominic Thiem. Whether Nadal can conjure up enough magic to make one more title run in a best of five on hard courts remains to be seen, but that will be a difficult proposition given how little he has played tennis since Roland-Garros.
Other than the top four on the odds list to win the Australian Open, there are a few players worth taking a look at to win this title. Jannik Sinner is young and has some devastating weapons in his arsenal that he could use to make his first iconic run at a major. In a section of the draw headlined by the banged up Stefanos Tsitsipas and the clay-focused Casper Ruud, Sinner could make this a memorable trip to Australia.
The other dark horses for this tournament come out of the top quarter of the draw, which was supposed to be Novak Djokovic’s to lose. Instead, since he is unable to play, there are several names that could potentially make a run all the way to the final. Carlos Alcaraz, Matteo Berrettini, Cam Norrie, Pablo Carreno-Busta, and even Gael Monfils all of a sudden would become decent options at long odds with the world number one unable to take the court in Melbourne.