The 2016 Australian Open will get underway in about one month’s time, the main draws for singles played between January 18th and January 31st. Novak Djokovic, the unquestionable headliner, has won the tournament an incredible five times. With previous titles in 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015 the Serb is a clear favorite to win the title again in 2016.
Currently, Djokovic’s betting odds are shorter than EVEN to win the upcoming Australian Open with nearly all sportsbooks (i.e.,. bet365). For those that don’t pay attention to the betting side of sports, the odds on the Serb suggest that he has a greater than 50% chance of winning the event – an assessment that I firmly agree with. However, the betting odds are still striking given that Djokovic will be joined in the Melbourne Park draw by 127 other entrants. So devastating has the current World No. 1 been at the Australian Open over the years that it’s as though his chances of winning the event are considered to be about 55% – with all other 127 entrants combined accounting for a 45% chance.
Taking a big bite out of that 45% chance are the other past champions that are expected to be in the draw. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Stan Wawrinka have also found their ways to the title down under in the past. However, Wawrinka is the only player in that trio to have won a title at Melbourne Park recently. Nadal has just the one title from 2009 while Federer’s most recent success in the final is from back in 2010 when he defeated Andy Murray.
But Djokovic is not considered a favorite in Melbourne Park-based only on his history at the event. His 2015 overall Grand Slam season was, by an ever-so-sight margin, the best of his career. Not only did 2015 include a title at the Aussie, but Djokovic also won both Wimbledon and Flushing Meadows. It’s true that he won three majors in 2011. However, 2015 is set apart from 2011 for the Serb by one detail. Four years ago Djokovic lost to Roger Federer in the French Open semifinals while this past year the Serb made the finals of all four majors.
Murray, a player without a title in Melbourne, is perhaps the most credible threat to Djokovic for the 2016 title. With a distinguished ability to weather the heat of the Australian summer, the Scot has made the Melbourne Park final four times. But on each occasion, he has lost to either Federer or Djokovic – a trend Murray will attempt to buck next month.
If a new player were to make the Australian Open final in 2016, promising prospects include either Grigor Dimitrov or Kei Nishikori. However, there’s been no hint of a slide in form for Djokovic for so long that the men’s singles event looks almost uninteresting. Look for Djokovic to claim a sixth title, a mark that would add to his record of most titles at the Australian Open in the Open Era.