Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Swiatek, the respective world no.1s, will be vying to take the opening major of 2023 with the big prize of the coveted Australian Open in January.
Spanish teenager Alcaraz, who scooped the 2022 US Open, and Poland’s three-time grand slam champion Swiatek are among the favourites to start the season with a trophy.
Yet veteran ace Novak Djokovic, who holds a record nine Australian Open titles and is the only man to ever hold all four majors at once, is the player that the sportsbooks are backing to triumph at Melbourne Park.
Defending champion Rafael Nadal lags behind Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev in the stakes with Betfair Australia for the year-opening grand slam of the year (16-29 January).
Swiatek is expected to continue last term’s rich vein of form, when she dominated the WTA Tour. Ashleigh Barty clinched her inaugural Australian Open title in 2022, only to announce her shock retirement two months later as world no.1.
The Serbian star continues to shine in his mid-thirties. He is a +1.00 shot to capture the crown after being given the green light to play as Australia lifted his three-year ban on entering the country. That was imposed when he was deported in January 2022, because of his failure to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
He’s virtually unbeatable Down Under, and will be determined to show the crowds in Melbourne what they missed last with another set of explosive displays anticipated.
The 19-year-old bowed out of the 2022 Australian Open in the third round, when world-ranked no.32. Fast forward a year and he is surely a force to be reckoned with.
Following his swashbuckling success at the US Open, he is now brimming with relentless energy, full of finesse plus possesses a power game that suits fast courts. The Spaniard seems a good bet at +2.10.
The Russian, who briefly reached the heady heights of world no.1, squandered a two-set lead over Nadal to settle for the runner-up spot at the 2022 Australian Open.
Despite having slipped down the rankings to world no.7, his all-court game is ideal Down Under with their low bouncing, fast courts. He’s reached the past two finals at Melbourne, so is a +6.00 shot to go one better and make it third time lucky.
Started last season with a bang, sensationally reeling off a remarkable comeback with three sets on the spin to defeat Medvedev for a 21st grand slam crown. He no longer has Roger Federer as a rival, after the Swiss maestro retired last term.
Nadal whimpered out of his 2022 campaign due to a combination of becoming a father and injury. He did scoop a 14th French Open title, but age appeared to catch up with him as the season progressed. With fresh legs he is worth considering as the new champion at +7.00.
Other contenders for the Australian Open 2023 title include controversial Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, Aussie Nick Kyrgios, Danish teenager Holger Rune, Norway’s Casper Ruud, Italian Yannik Sinner, American Francis Tiafoe and the dynamic Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Although the women’s singles seems more straightforward with Swiatek the overwhelming favourite, there are others on the circuit who could bounce back from the short break to cause a surprise.
Her demolition job during last season makes her an attractive player to back even at low odds of +3.00.
Swiatek’s dismantling of Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur in the 2022 US Open final elevated her to easily the best player on the WTA Tour. With Barty having left the circuit, the Pole’s path to the trophy appears a simplistic task.
Whether she can follow up her breakthrough season remains to be seen. She was on a hot streak for most of the past campaign and, as she relished majors, will be a danger to all the top players so is priced at +8.00.
The Belarussian came to prominence after losing the topsy-turvy 2022 US Open semi-final to Swiatek.
Her gutsy performances made her a key player to avoid in draws, but she must learn to hold her nerve more if a grand slam is her genuine goal. She’s priced at +9.00 to be the outright winner Down Under.
Japan’s Naomi Osaka and Romanian Simona Halep, both a former world no.1, will be fully prepared for the challenge and know how to clinch a grand slam.
Kazakhstani Elena Rybakina, the reigning Wimbledon winner, is another who has the know-how to win over a fortnight.
Rising stars expected to improve year-on-year that should be in the glory hunt include France’s WTA Tour Finals champion Caroline Garcia and America’s tenacious teenager Coco Gauff.