Can Novak Djokovic make history at the Australian Open?

Tennis Thursday December 21, 2023 By: Harry Howes

As the days get colder and the nights get darker in the UK in January, we’ll all be looking on with envy as the stars of world tennis jet off to sunny Melbourne for the Australian Open.

Novak Djokovic won the men’s title earlier this year and he could make history by defending his crown next month. Meanwhile, Aryna Sabalenka holds the women’s title and faces a tough test to keep it.

Djokovic targets record-breaking Grand Slam

After winning three Grand Slams this year, Djokovic is looking to add another one to his collection as he heads down under next month.

The Serbian is the most successful men’s player in history, with a stunning 24 Grand Slam titles. He’s currently level with Australian legend Margaret Court, meaning one more slam will take him top of the all-time standings.

Of all the tournaments for Djokovic to break the record, he couldn’t have picked a better one. He’s made Melbourne Park his playground in recent years, winning 10 of the last 16 Australian Open titles.

Djokovic’s last win came earlier this year and he continued his phenomenal year by securing the French and US Opens. It would have been a perfect year for him if it wasn’t for Carlos Alcaraz, whose Wimbledon triumph stopped him from claiming a fourth Career Grand Slam.

Like a fine wine, Djokovic appears to be getting better with age. Despite being 36, he’s showing no signs of slowing down nor given any indication that he’s ready to hang up his racket.

Who can stop Djokovic in Australia?

After spoiling Djokovic’s party at Wimbledon, Alcaraz could delay the record being broken by going all the way in Australia as he targets a third Grand Slam.

Despite a remarkable couple of years since breaking through, Alcaraz has never progressed past the third round in Melbourne and he’ll be looking to finally make his mark this time around.

Despite being just 20 years old, Alacaraz’s dominant displays at Wimbledon showed a maturity beyond his years and he’ll likely be the biggest threat to Djokovic’s crown.

Next month’s Australian Open will see the return of Rafael Nadal, who endured a nightmare 2023 riddled with injuries. Nadal has won the tournament twice, with his most recent title coming in 2022 where he defeated Daniil Medvedev in the final.

He was looking to defend his title earlier this year but his hip injury saw him succumb to a second round exit in straight sets at the hands of Mackenzie McDonald. Nadal has since had treatment for his injury and he’s looking to return in style in what could be his final year in tennis.

Elsewhere, two-time Australian Open finalist Medvedev is looking to win just his second Grand Slam. He lost two consecutive finals in Melbourne in 2021 and 2022.

Meanwhile, Jannik Sinner is another future star that could challenge. The 22-year-old reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon this summer and despite losing in straight sets to Djokovic, he showed huge potential.

Iga Swiatek seeks another Grand Slam title

World number one Iga Swiatek is the favourite to go all the way in Australia. The 22-year-old secured her fourth Grand Slam title back in June as she overcame Karolina Muchova to win the French Open.

She’ll be looking to win the Australian Open for the first time, with her best previous showing coming last year where she fell short against Danielle Collins in the semis.

Swiatek will face stiff competition from 2023 champion Sabalenka. She came from a set down to beat Elena Rybakina in the final earlier this year. Sabalenka has enjoyed a strong 2023, having also reached the US Open final, as well as the final four at Wimbledon and the French Open.

Rybakina should perform well again as she looks to avenge her defeat in the final last time out. Meanwhile, Coco Gauff could also challenge. The 19-year-old has a bright future ahead of her and she claimed her maiden Grand Slam this year as she won the US Open on home soil. She’ll be looking to improve her Australian Open record having never progressed past the fourth round.

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