Published: Thu, January 10, 2019
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Australian Open 2019: Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Serena Williams remain favourites

Australian Open 2019: Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Serena Williams remain favourites

Will Djokovic, Nadal and Federer dominate the Australian Open again, or is it time for a new young prince to become king?

While others in "Generation Next" like Austria's Dominic Thiem and the 22-year-old Russians Karen Khachanov and Daniil Medvedev could cause upsets, it is debateable whether they have can win seven matches over 14 days.

Williams reached the Wimbledon and US Open finals after her return a year ago but lost both, leaving her one short of Australian Margaret Court's tally of major singles titles.

Two of the older generation who have shown they do have that ability - Britain's Andy Murray and Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka - could be unsafe floaters in the draw as they make their way back from injury-plagued seasons.

Three-time Grand Slam champion Murray missed most of last season after hip surgery and has tumbled down the rankings to 230th.

"I always have tried to remind myself that this is a dream", Federer said of his longevity at the draw ceremony held at Margaret Court Arena, where he discovered the world number 99 would be his opening opponent.

He faces tough opposition from defending champion Roger Federer, while Rafa Nadal aims for his first triumph Down Under since 2009. Among those looking to halt Serena's charge: world number one Simona Halep, defending champion Caroline Wozniacki and US Open victor Naomi Osaka.

The Romanian, who lost to Ash Barty in the second round of the Sydney International on Wednesday, broke her grand slam duck at the French Open in June last year and finished the season at number one for the second consecutive year.

Kerber beat Wiliams in the Wimbledon final to become the first German woman to win the grass court title since Steffi Graf in 1996.

Top-seeded Halep is without a coach after long-time Australian mentor Darren Cahill stepped down for family reasons, and described 2018 as "very emotional" but insisted it had made her mentally stronger.

"It truly makes me excited for what's ahead in 2019", she said.

Fortnite Pro players will compete in a $560,600 (400,000 AUD) solo tournament, while content creators, athletes, and celebrities take part in a $140,150 (100,000 AUD) charity duos event in what the Australian Open calls "the largest competitive gaming event in Australian history".

Williams reached the finals at Wimbledon and in NY on what was her comeback year on the WTA Tour in 2018 following the birth of her first child. The Japanese star arrives in Melbourne as the world number four after a stunning victory over Serena Williams at Flushing Meadows that sent the 21-year-old's profile into the stratosphere.

Like this: