By Greg Stewart
The Australian Open (The AO) kicks off on Monday 17th January in Hobart, Melbourne Australia at the Melbourne Park Stadium.
The women's singles final is scheduled for 29th January 2022, and the men's singles final to be played on 30th January. As with other tournaments such as the U.S. Open, there are separate day and night sessions.
With a prolonged and agonizing controversy surrounding the visa for the men's singles defending champion Novak Djokovic, Tennis Australia has eventually finalised the draws for the Australian Open after confirmation that Djokovic will no longer be allowed to play.
Daniil Medvedev, seeded second, now the clear favourite to take top honours having won the US Open in 2021 beating Djokovic in the final.
The exclusion of Djokovic also opens the door for other men’s players to shine this year bringing world No.3 Alexander Zverev and Rafael Nadal (world No.6) into contention. Zverev won six tournaments in 2021 including the Nitto ATP Finals (Indoor/Hard), the Vienna (Indoor/Hard) and the ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati – all Hard court tournaments as is the AO
Rafael Nadal, returning to Grand Slam tennis after being out for five months with an injury, won the Melbourne Summer Set title only a week ago and will be fighting for his second Australian Open singles title. Nadal, originally had a tough draw as he would have faced a potential semi-final clash against Djokovic and will certainly benefit with the world No.1 not permitted to play. Sport betting odds for the Australian open show that Medvedev is top favourite for an outright win at 2.5:1 with Zverev at 3.5:1 and Nadal at 7:1 on Sunbet. An each way bet on Zverev and Nadal with an outright win for Medvedev could be the winning formula for Sports betting punters to go.
In the women's singles draw, Australian Ashleigh Barty is out to win her first Australian Open title and with “home-ground” advantage the local fans will be providing her with a big support boost. Barty will not face many big hurdles with a draw that sees little opposition until the 4th round where she potentially will clash with Osaka and Coco Gauff or Barbora Krejcikova in the semi-finals. Barty starts off her hunt for her home Grand Slam with a match against a qualifier Lesia Tsurenko.
Barty, who has two major titles - Roland Garros (clay Court) as well as Wimbledon (grass Court) is yet to win her home grand slam, going out in the quarters, semis and quarters the past three years. She’ll be hoping to become the first Australian woman to win the southern hemisphere’s only grand slam since Chris O’Neil in 1978. Barty sits as sports betting favourite at 3.75:1 on SunBet.
Naomi Osaka will be fighting to retain her dominance at this year’s event. Osaka, with two AO wins to her resume, will be starting the defence of her title with a match against Camila Osorio. She may also potentially clash against Barty in the fourth round. Current odds for Osaka are 8.5:1 and is good value on SunBet
Another player to watch is Emma Raducanu, who captivated the tennis world when she entered the US Open via qualification and went on to win the US Open at 19 years of age without losing a single set. Raducanu, who will definitely be a contender in Melbourne, starts the tournament with a match against Sloane Stephens. At 34:1 on SunBet for an outright win she would be my best value bet for the Tournament