Novak Djokovic is out to win a record 25th grand slam, but can Carlos Alcaraz and Co. spoil the party at the Australian Open? We reveal our Australian Open predictions.
Melbourne Park is something of a second home for Novak Djokovic, who has won a record 10 Australian Open men’s singles titles on Rod Laver Arena.
That tally is four clear of Roy Emerson and Roger Federer on the all-time list, and an 11th title in the season’s opening grand slam would see Djokovic set another record – he would surpass Australian great Margaret Court’s haul of 24 major titles, and move onto 25.
Though Rafael Nadal was forced to withdraw due to injury, meaning he may not feature at the Australian Open again, Carlos Alcaraz – the heir apparent to Nadal’s throne – will be out to make Djokovic wait on clinching another piece of history. There are also plenty of other contenders to take into consideration. And what of the Australians aiming to fly the flag in their home grand slam?
With all those questions in mind, what is the Opta supercomputer projecting ahead of the opening grand slam of 2024? Here are its Australian Open predictions.
2024 Australian Open Predictions : The Quick Hits
- Opta’s supercomputer makes Djokovic (24%) the big favourite.
- Home hope and 10th seed Alex de Minaur, who has been drawn against Milos Raonic in round one, has a 1.3% chance of winning the title.
- Djokovic set to keep hold of ATP world No. 1 ranking, but movement elsewhere in the top 10.
Djokovic’s Title to Lose
Djokovic has appeared in – and won – more men’s singles finals at the Australian Open than any other player in the Open Era. He has a 100% winning record in Australian Open finals, and is the only male player in the Open Era to have reached 10 finals at multiple majors (Australian Open and US Open).
The 36-year-old holds the highest win percentage in the Australian Open men’s singles (91.2%) in the Open Era. The Serb is one of only three men to hold a winning rate of 90% or higher having played at least 10 matches, along with Jimmy Connors (91.7%) and Andre Agassi (90.6%).
In the event he reaches the third round, where he might meet Andy Murray, Djokovic will become the second player in the Open Era, after Roger Federer, to appear in 100 men’s singles matches.
Djokovic will take on qualifier Dino Prizmic in the first round. Should he win – he is given an 87% chance of doing so – then he will become only the second player in the Open Era to appear in 200 grand slam matches on hard courts, after Federer (221).
He is the overwhelming favourite and given a 24% of winning it all according to the Opta supercomputer.
Australian Open 2024: The Challengers
This will be the first men’s singles main draw at the Australian Open without either Nadal or Federer since 1999, but there are plenty of youngsters who have an eye on crashing Djokovic’s party.
World number two Alcaraz, of course, is the pick of the bunch. The Spaniard is out to become only the fourth player in the Open Era to win three major titles before turning 21, after Mats Wilander, Bjorn Borg and Nadal. Alcaraz would also become only the fourth player under 21 in the Open Era to win the men’s singles at the Australian Open, after Wilander, Stefan Edberg and Djokovic.
Alcaraz starts off against Richard Gasquet, who he defeated en route to winning his first Tour-level title at Umag back in 2021. Should he beat Gasquet, as our model expects (84.6%), then Alcaraz will become only the fifth male player in the Open Era to claim 20 major singles match wins on hard court before turning 21, after Michael Chang, Hewitt, Djokovic and the player with the most, Andy Roddick (21).
Our predictor ranks his chances of taking the trophy at 9.0%, making him our third favourite. In the event Alcaraz beats another top-five ranked opponent, he will become only the second player since 1973 to claim five wins over such opponents at grand slams before turning 21, after Wilander.
Jannik Sinner is another youngster hoping to build on a hugely impressive 2023. The Italian won four ATP Tour titles last term, including his maiden Masters crown, and reached a further three finals – losing to Djokovic in an ATP Finals showdown in Turin.
Djokovic and Sinner could be set for a reunion in the semi-finals, and the latter’s chances of going all the way are not bad, at 14% – in fact, that makes him second favourite to claim the crown. If Sinner does indeed meet Djokovic and beat the Serbian, he will be just the third player to claim four or more wins from his opening six meetings against the current world No. 1, after Nadal and Murray. Sinner would also be only the third player in the past six years to claim consecutive wins on hard court over Djokovic, after Roberto Bautista Agut and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Sinner is out to become the first Italian player to reach a major singles final on hard court and the third on all surfaces in the Open Era, after Adriano Panatta (French Open 1976) and Matteo Berrettini (Wimbledon 2021).
Holger Rune’s chances of clinching his first grand slam title are, well, slim (1.0%), but the Dane could certainly be one to watch in Melbourne. He is aiming to become the first Scandinavian male to reach a grand slam semi-final or final before turning 21 since Edberg, who won the Australian Open in 1987. The likelihood of him making it to the last four is 5.2%.
Should he get to the last four, Rune might have to navigate a quarter-final against Daniil Medvedev. The Russian should be confident of progressing that far, with our model giving him a 20.1% of doing just that – a likelihood bettered by only Alcaraz, Sinner and Djokovic. In the event he reaches the quarters, one-time major champion Medvedev will become only the fifth player born after 1990 to appear in 100 grand slam matches, after Grigor Dimitrov (136), Milos Raonic (128), Dominic Thiem (109) and Alexander Zverev (114).
Medvedev (8.0%) is among the top five favourites, according to our predictor, as is Alexander Zverev (4.0%). However, Medvedev was on the wrong end of the biggest upset in the men’s draw at last year’s Australian Open (so says our model), when he was defeated by Sebastian Korda, who had only a 14.5% chance of winning that match.
De Minaur Flying the Flag
There are 15 Australians in the men’s draw – that is the largest contingent of representatives the home nation has had at the Australian Open since 1999.
Nick Kyrgios is not among them, and that leaves De Minaur as Australia’s biggest hope for the tournament. The world No. 10 lost to Djokovic in the fourth round last year, yet gained some measure of revenge with a victory over him at the United Cup earlier this month.
De Minaur could become the first Australian to reach the round of 16 at three consecutive editions of the Australian Open since Hewitt (2003-05) – no Australian has reached the last eight since Kyrgios in 2015. Our model ranks his chances of progressing to the last 16 at 23.7%, though he has only a 13.1% chance of making it beyond that point, and a slim 2.8% likelihood of reaching the final.
Meanwhile, if Alexei Popyrin reaches the round of 16, barring walkovers, he will become only the fifth Australian since 2000 to win 10 or more men’s singles matches at the Australian Open, after Hewitt, Bernard Tomic, Kyrgios and De Minaur.
A New World Order?
Opta’s predictor has not just assessed the likelihood of the tournament outcomes, but also how likely it is there will be a new world number one after the end of the competition.
Djokovic is the big favourite to retain his spot at the top of the rankings (75.3%), with Alcaraz and Medvedev likely needing to win the tournament to surpass the legendary Serbian.
Alcaraz is 73.5% likely to stay as world No. 2, while Medvedev, Sinner, Andrey Rublev and Zverev are all expected to retain their spots, but the draw has not been as kind to Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The Greek could face Djokovic in the quarters, and if he is able to progress beyond that, then a tie with Rublev, Sinner or De Minaur could be on the cards. As such, last year’s runner-up Tsitsipas is predicted to drop out of the top 10, into 11th, with Casper Ruud expected to rise from 11th to 10th.
Hubert Hurkacz is expected to capitalise on Tsitsipas’ misfortune and rise up from 10th to eighth – the Pole has a 46.6% chance of being the new world No. 8 by the end of the competition. Likewise, Rune is anticipated to move up to seventh (62.8%).
De Minaur is predicted to lose his place in the top 10 and slip to 12th – there is actually a 30.3% chance the Australian ends up in 13th.