Established guard to continue their grip on the top prizes?
50 out of the past 60 men’s Grand Slams have fallen into the clutches of the Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal triumvirate. That’s 83% since 2004!
World No.1 Djokovic and two-time defending champion Federer are gunning for an unprecedented seventh triumph in Melbourne.
Denis Istomin, who stunned Djokovic in the 2017 second round down under, is Federer’s first hurdle. The 20-time Grand Slam champion is in fine fettle with another unbeaten Hopman Cup campaign under his belt.
He’s simply stated preparation has been “perfect,” but Federer has also insisted Djokovic is the favourite.
The Serbian, off the back of an absorbing renaissance in 2018, returned to the Tour with a Doha Open semi-final. A qualifier up first, but 2008 final opponent Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is a possible spectacular second round.
Looking to spoil a Federer v Djokovic final, Nadal has landed in the defending champion’s half. Nadal, the 2009 champion, takes on Aussie wildcard James Duckworth, but it’s been a turbulent off-season for the 11-time Roland Garros champion.
Ankle surgery, thigh issues and a lack of match practice. Can Rafa rise to the occasion? His unrelenting faith certainly remains.