24/05/2024

Can Rafael Nadal win his second Australian Open? Photo: @USOpen

Daniil Medvedev is the favourite to win this year’s Australian Open, but veterans Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray have the ability to win.

The Australian Open will see a fresh face win the tournament in 2022, with nine-time winner Novak Djokovic missing. Veterans Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray will contend, whilst US Open champion Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev will see this as a big opportunity to take home the trophy.

Who will take it out? The Inner Sanctum take a look the main contenders for the 2022 Australian Open Men’s Singles.

Matteo Berrettini [7th seed]

With the news that Novak Djokovic will not play in the Australian Open, the draw has opened up for Italian Matteo Berrettini.

The big-hitting 25-year-old was initially on-track to potentially meet the world No. 1 in the quarter-final, but will no longer have to worry about that. The next-best players in his quarter are Gael Monfils, Cristian Garin and Cameron Norrie.

Berrettini has played reasonable tennis leading into the Australia Open. He pushed Daniil Medvedev to three sets, dispatched Ugo Humbert and went down to Australian Alex de Minaur in the ATP Cup.

A finalist at Wimbledon in 2021, the world No. 7 has previously only made it to the fourth round of the Australian Open but will back himself to advance further in 2022. He faces USA’s Brandon Nakashima in the first round on Monday.

Best Australian Open result: Fourth round (2021)

Matteo Berrettini. Photo: ATP Cup

Alex de Minaur [32]

Despite a poor record at Melbourne Park in his young career so far, Alex de Minaur is Australia’s great hope.

The 22-year-old’s best appearance in Melbourne has been the third round, which was reached in 2019 and 2021.

‘Demon’ pulled out of the 2020 Open with an abdominal injury.

The speedy youngster has mixed form coming into the Australian Open, with big wins over Matteo Berrettini and Ugo Humbert split by a loss to world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev.

Sneaking into the seedings helps de Minaur, with a first round clash to be played against Italian Lorenzo Musetti. The Australian may face eighth seed Casper Ruud in the third round.

Best Australian Open result: Third Round (2019, 2021)

Alex de Minaur. Photo: ATP Cup

Felix Auger-Aliassime [9]

Looking to cause a boilover, watch out for Felix Auger-Aliassime. The youngest on this list, the 21-year-old is one of tennis’ hottest prospects and is capable of winning his first Grand Slam.

Australian fans may remember the Canadian after he bundled Nick Kyrgios out of Wimbledon last year. He recently defeated world No. 3 Alexander Zverev at the ATP Cup.

After an incredible US Open campaign in which Auger-Aliassime lost a semi-final clash against eventual champion Daniil Medvedev, the youngster has a reasonably comfortable early draw. He will potentially face fifth seed Andrey Rublev in the fourth round – a man he has only faced once before.

Best Australian Open result: Fourth Round (2021)

Felix Auger-Aliassime. Photo: Wimbledon

Alexander Zverev [3]

World No. 3 Alexander Zverev will hope to win his first Grand Slam at the Australian Open. A semi-finalist in 2020, Zverev made the US Open final later that year to prove his skill on the hard surface.

The 24-year-old lost just six matches on a hard court last year, three of which were against world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

The German will face compatriot Daniel Altmaier before a potentially tricky encounter against Spaniard Feliciano Lopez or crowd-favourite John Millman in the second round.

Best Australian Open result: Semi-Final (2020)

Alexander Zverev. Photo: US Open

Aslan Karatsev [18]

Aslan Karatsev. What a tournament this man played in 2021. Playing skilled players along the way, such as Auger-Aliassime and Grigor Dimitrov, Karatsev’s fairy tale run was ended by eventual winner Novak Djokovic in the semi-final.

A reminder that the Russian was a qualifier in last year’s edition. This year, he is the 18th seed.

The 28-year-old is in hot form coming into the Australian Open. He won the Sydney Tennis Classic on Saturday as the number one seed.

Karatsev will face Spaniard Jaume Munar in the first round and may face Rafael Nadal in the fourth round, all things going to plan.

Best Australian Open result: Semi-Final (2021)

Nick Kyrgios

Which Nick Kyrgios is going to turn up? That is the question on everyone’s lips.

The Australian entertainer was recently struck down with a bout of COVID-19, putting his participation in doubt. But, there is no way that Nick Kyrgios will miss playing on his favourite court, John Cain Arena, when the first match rolls around on Tuesday.

The 26-year-old did not play much tennis in 2021, namely playing the Australian summer, Wimbledon and the Laver Cup without much success. Kyrgios is now ranked 114th in the world, but he is always a chance of winning any tournament he participates in.

Kyrgios will face qualifier Liam Broady in the first round, and should he get through that, a prime-time clash against US Open champion Daniil Medvedev may await in the second round.

Best Australian Open result: Quarter-Final (2015)

Nick Kyrgios. Photo: ATP Cup

Daniil Medvedev [2]

The most recent Grand Slam champion, Daniil Medvedev ended Novak Djokovic’s dream of winning the Golden Slam at the final hurdle at Flushing Meadows in September.

The Russian has endured mixed form in the lead-up to the Australian Open, with losses against Felix Auger-Aliassime and Ugo Humbert at the ATP Cup, but form will mean nothing if Medvedev can push through and win his second Grand Slam title.

The 2021 runner-up will face Henri Laaksonen in the first round, before a potential mouthwatering encounter with Nick Kyrgios at the second hurdle.

Best Australian Open result: Finalist (2021)

Stefanos Tsitsipas [4]

The Greek superstar has performed well at Melbourne Park in recent years, and has a great following of fans in the Victorian capital.

Last year, Tsitsipas defeated Thanasi Kokkinakis in a five-set thriller before moving into the semi-final.

The fourth seed will face Mikael Ymer in the first round, and has a reasonable draw if he can get past potential matchups against Grigor Dimitrov and Roberto Bautista Agut.

Best Australian Open result: Semi-Final (2019, 2021)

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Rafael Nadal [6]

Rafael Nadal enters the Australian Open in great form, winning last week’s Melbourne Summer Set. Recently suffering with COVID-19, Nadal showed no lingering effects as he won the tournament without dropping a set.

The former world No. 1 is itching to win a second Australian Open crown in 2022 in what may be his last journey down under. ‘Rafa’ last reached the Australian Open final in 2019, where he was dismantled by Novak Djokovic.

Without Djokovic or Federer to contend with, the Spaniard will enter as a favourite for this year’s open, hoping to win his first Grand Slam in Melbourne in 13 years.

The 20-time Grand Slam winner will face Marcos Giron in the first round, with a clash against an in-form Thanasi Kokkinakis looming in the second round.

Best Australian Open result: Champion (2009)

Rafael Nadal. Photo: @RafaelNadal/Twitter

Andy Murray [WC]

Like Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray may also be playing down under for the last time.

The Scot has made the Australian Open final five times, but has heartbreakingly not been able to win a title. Murray has been a victim of the modern era of tennis, losing to Roger Federer once and Novak Djokovic four times in the final.

On the long road back from injury, Murray is in cracking form. The world No. 135 recently made the final of the Sydney Tennis Classic, proving he still has what it takes.

Perhaps a sentimental contender, Murray will be a chance if he can recapture his form of yesteryear.

Murray will face 21st seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first round. The good news for Murray? He defeated the Georgian in three sets on Wednesday.

Best Australian Open result: Finalist (2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016)

Andy Murray. Photo: @the_LTA/Twitter

Honorable mentions: Andrey Rublev, Jannik Sinner, Carlos Alcaraz, Cameron Norrie, Thanasi Kokkinakis, Gael Monfils

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