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Australian Open 2019: 5 players to watch out for

With the first grand slam of the year just underway, we will look at the top 5 contenders for the much-coveted title!

Last updated: 15.01.2019
Australian Open 2019: 5 players to watch out for | Sports Social Blog

The Australian Open is a Grand Slam Tennis tournament which will be played at the Melbourne Park from 14 January to 27 January 2019. The Australian Open 2019 will be the 107th edition of the tournament and the 51st of the open era. This will be the first grand slam of the year and players will be looking to kick start their campaign on a positive note.

Roger Federer and Caroline Wozniacki are the defending champions coming into this year’s tournament and will certainly be looking to defend their title. In fact, Roger Federer managed to defend his title last year. Will they be able to repeat their last year's heroics? Players have been in Australia for quite some time now as they have already played the Hopman Cup (Perth) and Brisbane International (Brisbane). So no more adapting to the surface, don't be surprised to see fast-flowing tennis right from the word go.

Although a lot has been spoken about the young guys in the tournament, it is the veterans who always take away the limelight in the big events. Here are the top 5 players to watch out for:

1. Roger Federer:

With 20 Grand Slam victories under his belt, you just can't underestimate the brilliance of this master. Of this, 3 have come in the last two years which include two triumphs in this event only. And he is on the back of an impressive start to the tournament by helping his country Switzerland claim the Hopman Cup alongside Belinda Bencic. The 37-year old beat Marin Cilic in the final in 2018 and defeated Rafael Nadal in 2017. The Swiss will be looking for a hat-trick of consecutive Australian Opens under his belt. There was no stopping the master in the last two years, let’s see who end this incredible run?

2. Rafael Nadal:

The Spaniard has suffered through injuries in the last few months. If not for his injuries, he would have ended the year as the World number one. The number two seed won the last year's French Open apart from a number of other events too. He lost in the semi-final of Wimbledon 2018 to the eventual winner Novak Djokovic. He also lost in the semi-final of US Open due to an injury. The 32-year old player from Manacor, Spain is so much pleasing on the eye when in full swing. But his dodgy knees have been a problem for quite some time now. His only Australian Open triumph came ten years ago. Let's see if his juicy topspins can do the trick this time around.

3. Novak Djokovic:

The Serbian has been in great form lately and will be the man to beat in this tournament. He is the number one seed and the favourite to the title. He won the Wimbledon and Australian Open apart from other victories in several other tournaments in 2018. The 31-year-old Serb is now level with Pete Sampras at 14 Grand Slams and will be looking to get past him here only. With 6 Australian Open titles already under his belt, it’s not hard to guess which is his favourite grand slam.

4. Dominic Thiem:

The 25-year-old Austrian has been showing some glimpses of what he can produce for some time now. He is one of the brightest prospects in tennis for the future and is regarded as the “next big thing” by many. In 2018, he won the Lyon Open and was runner-up in the Madrid Open. He lost to Rafael Nadal in the French Open final. His destructive forehands matched with a solid serve can be a nightmare for many. The courts here have been playing quicker since the last couple of years and Thiem will be looking to get the maximum advantage out of it.

5. Alexander Zverev:

The 22-year-old from Germany is the other name who could be the next big thing in tennis. But he is mostly inconsistent. On his best days, he could be a nightmare even to the top names. And on other days, he goes down even to lower-ranked players. In 2018, the number four seed won the Madrid Open beating Cilic in the final. He was also the runner-up in the Miami and Rome Masters. His biggest achievement was to beat Novak Djokovic to claim the ATP World Tour Finals. He was the runner-up in the Hopman Cup alongside Angelique Kerber. His powerful backhands and rasping serves are difficult to deal with.

We are in for many surprises in the next couple of weeks. Let's just hope that we witness the best of tennis action in Melbourne.

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