Australian Open 2024 Odds: The challengers beyond Djokovic and Alcaraz

 | January 11 | 

6 mins read

rafael nadal australian open

Men’s tennis now has two gargantuan names. If the Wimbledon final from last summer is anything to go by, the next few years should see the battle between the most successful player of all time, Novak Djokovic and young upstart Carlos Alcaraz reach fever pitch. 

It’s a truly mouthwatering prospect as the Spanish talent, who has already proven himself to be one of the finest young players on the planet, looks to dethrone the king on his adopted home soil. Nobody has won the Australian Open more times than Djokovic (10), and he’s won the last four consecutive majors he has competed for in Melbourne. He’s the greatest hard-court player of all-time, without a doubt.

But what about those attempting to challenge this incredible top two? For years we were graced with the incredible foursome of Sir Andy Murray, Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, and although we are unlikely to see a quartet of that quality ever again, there is now a crop of talent coming through to challenge the king. 

Australian Open odds (excluding Djokovic and Alcaraz)

  • Jannik Sinner @ 6/1
  • Daniil Medvedev @ 9/1
  • Alexander Zverev @ 20/1
  • Holger Ruud @ 25/1 
  • Ben Shelton @ 33/1
  • Stefanos Tsitsipas @ 40/1
  • Alex De Minaur @ 50/1

We should start with the intriguing Jannik Sinner. The 22-year-old Italian has been threatening to break through and win his first Grand Slam, and there’s growing belief that he could upset the applecart in Melbourne. One thing that could work in his favour is the fact that he has done a slightly different warm-up at the start of this year, skipping the usual lead-in tournaments to play in the Kooyong Classic exhibition in Melbourne.

He was also in red-hot form at the end of 2023, and the world number four comes into the first Grand Slam of the year in the best form of his life. He beat Djokovic twice in a week, first in the ATP Finals in Turin, before helping Italy win the Davis Cup in Malaga with a semi-final victory over Serbia. To rub the success in further, he even got the better of the Serbian in the doubles! 

He’s also won late-season titles in Beijing and Vienna, beating Alcaraz and Medvedev along the way. Simply put, there isn’t a player in this tournament who Sinner should fear, and, for the big dogs, he’s the man to avoid. 

Sinner 6:1

Medvedev was the big disappointment of last year’s Aussie Open as he crashed out in round three. This is the man who reached the final in 2021 and 2022 but fell at the final hurdle, first losing in straight sets to Novak Djokovic before Rafa Nadal defied the odds yet again to triumph from two sets down. Now 27, he’s no longer a young man on the scene and it’s time for him to start producing at major tournaments. 

This court suits him, he’s reached five Grand Slam finals on the hard surface, losing again to Djokovic in the most recent US Open final. With one major title to his name, it feels like Medvedev is the perfect age to put himself right in contention once again. 2023 wasn’t his year, but the Russian’s motivation is now at an all-time high. 

If he faces Alexander Zverev at any point, there are bound to be fireworks. The two are not the best of friends, as seen in the documentary series Break Point, with the German stating: "I think that a lot of things that Medvedev does are frustrating at times. He’s somebody that knows how to play with the head of the opponent.” 

Zverev crashed out in round two this time last year, and it feels like his moment may have passed. He’s reached five Grand Slam semi-finals, but that has only translated into one final appearance, the US Open showdown he lost to Dominic Thiem in 2020. However, he has started this year in winning fashion, securing the United Cup for Germany in Sydney - beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the process. He’s a tough character to judge even in top form, but his second-round exit and lack of recent form on this surface leaves me sceptical to say the least about his chances this time around. 

Holger Rune and Ben Shelton mark far more exciting prospects in my eyes at 20 and 21 years old respectively. If you throw Alcaraz and Sinner into the mix, you have four players between 20 and 22 who could be at the top of the sport for the next decade. Rune lost in the final of the Brisbane International in the build-up to this one, and it feels like he still has a bit of learning to do before he makes it to the final four of a major. 

Quarter-final showings at the French and Wimbledon in 2023 show his class, and he has beaten Djokovic, Alcaraz and Tsitsipas on a hard court over his career. However, you feel that he is likely to wilt in the final eight again at the pressure cooker that is Melbourne. A semi-final appearance would be a huge step forward for the young Dane. 

Shelton is now the United States’ number-one male tennis player and there’s a fair bit of excitement around him heading Down Under. Of course, he recently made it to the US Open semi-final in what was his breakthrough tournament on home soil, beating countryman Frances Tiafoe in a thrilling quarter-final. It’s going to be a tough ask for him to repeat that feat in Melbourne given he only has three wins over top-10 players to his name in his fledgling career. 

He certainly will feature prominently over the next few years, but it would take something special for him to repeat his September achievement here. Stefanos Tsitsipas meanwhile feels like he has been slightly overpriced given he was the defeated finalist at the Australian Open last year. The Greek star, like Medvedev, is now the perfect age to kick on and win Grand Slams. 

If he had won that final he would have become world number one, but Djokovic won two key tie-breaks to take the title in straight sets. From that point, injuries hampered his 2023 progress, which culminated in a second-round loss at the US Open to world number 128 Dominic Stricker. Tsitsipas has quality and experience, so the 40/1 still feels like good value, especially when you consider he is looking to start afresh in 2024. 

Tsitsipas

We’ll finish with home favourite Alex De Minaur. He’s 24, and his best Grand Slam performance so far has been one quarter-final appearance at the US Open back in 2020. However, there’s now renewed excitement around the Australian after he beat Djokovic, Zverev and Taylor Fritz in the United Cup. 

Those big wins have catapulted him into the top 10 in the world for the first time, and with the raucous backing of the home crowd he should be targeting his best-ever performance at a major event. How far form and frenzy can carry him will be one of the intriguing stories of what should be a cracking opening to 2024. 

One thing is for sure, men’s tennis has far going for it than just Djokovic and Alcaraz, and there’s a whole batch of young stars waiting in the wings to snatch a first Grand Slam title.  

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