Novak Djokovic on Day 6 of the Nitto ATP Finals, London, UK
Novak Djokovic on Day 6 of the Nitto ATP Finals, London, UK | (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)

Tennis | Australian Open 2021 | Men’s Singles Draw Preview

  • Defending champion Novak Djokovic now has a record eight titles
  • Will this be the Slam where the next generation make their stand?
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – The chase is on for Novak Djokovic to add to his Slam tally, and for the chasing pack to make their claim.


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[1] Novak Djokovic

There is no denying that the Australian Open has become his wheelhouse as he aims for another record title here, but more importantly it gives him a chance to inch ever closer to Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer for the all-time Slam titles notch.

Alexander Zverev just upended Djokovic in the ATP Cup as the players tuned up for the Australian Open, and setting aside the blister/two-opponent match up in Adelaide, Djokovic has to be a firm favourite to lift the title again, but his last three matches on the way to the title will be his hardest challenges.


Djokovic’s Path to the Final (Ranking/Seeding)

  • R1: Jeremy Chardy | H2H: Djokovic leads 13-0
  • R2: Frances Tiafoe | H2H: First Meeting
  • R3: Taylor Fritz [27] | H2H: Djokovic leads 2-0
  • R4: Milos Raonic [14] | H2H: Djokovic leads 11-0
  • QF: Alexander Zverev [6] | H2H: Djokovic leads 4-2
  • SF: Dominic Thiem [3] | H2H: Djokovic leads 7-5
  • F: Rafael Nadal [2] | Djokovic leads H2H 29-27


[2] Rafael Nadal

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All eyes were on Nadal and whether we would have a thrilling repeat of a Serbia/Spain clash, but having pulled out from competing for the team, there must be a bit of concern about how fit he is (although let’s face it, he will be sprinting around to the baseline in the first round with no issues, we’re sure!).

On first look though, he has a decent enough draw, with two first-timers to ease into the tournament, and on paper should sail through into the second week.

Nadal’s Path to the Final (Ranking/Seeding)

  • R1: Laslo Djere | H2H: First Meeting
  • R2: Michael Mmoh [Q] | H2H: First Meeting
  • R3: Dan Evans [30] | H2H: Nadal leads 2-0
  • R4: Fabio Fognini [16] | H2H: Nadal leads 12-4
  • QF: Stefanos Tsitsipas [5] | H2H: Nadal leads 6-1
  • SF: Daniil Medvedev [4] | H2H: Nadal leads 3-1
  • F: Novak Djokovic [1] | H2H: Djokovic leads H2H 29-27


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[3] Dominic Thiem

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Setting aside a decently competitive exhibition match in Adelaide, it has been a strange beginning to the season for Thiem. He lost probably surprisingly to Matteo Berrettini in the ATP Cup before being handed a win by Benoit Paire so it is a little difficult to know where Thiem is at.

On paper, he only comes unstuck once he gets to the last eight and should comfortably be in the second week, but can he challenge two of the Big Three on the way to another slam?


Thiem’s Path to the Final (Ranking/Seeding)

  • R1: Mikhail Kukushkin | H2H: First Meeting
  • R2: Dominik Koepfer | H2H: First Meeting
  • R3: Ugo Humbert [29] | H2H: First Meeting
  • R4: Pablo Carreno Busta [15] | H2H: Thiem leads 7-0
  • QF: Diego Schwartzman [8] | H2H: Thiem leads 6-3
  • SF: Novak Djokovic [1] | H2H: Djokovic leads 7-5
  • F: Rafael Nadal [1] | H2H: Nadal leads 9-6


[4] Daniil Medvedev

Perhaps the hardest draw on paper for the top four seeds, Medvedev will have to level up against Filip Krajinovic to challenge in the second week, and he has at least beaten the Big Two on show before, but can he muster up the stamina to do it in a best of five?


Medvedev’s Path to the Final (Ranking/Seeding)

  • R1: Vasek Pospisil | H2H: Medvedev leads 2-1
  • R2: Dominik Koepfer | H2H: First Meeting
  • R3: Filip Krajinovic [28] | H2H: Krajinovic leads 1-0
  • R4: David Goffin [13] | H2H: Medvedev leads 2-0
  • QF: Andrey Rublev [7] | H2H: Medvedev leads 3-0
  • SF: Rafael Nadal [2] | H2H: Nadal leads 3-1
  • F: Novak Djokovic [1] | H2H: Djokovic leads 4-3


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The Australian Open takes place between 8-21 February (GMT +11 hours)


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