For the first time in over 100 years, the Australian Open will be held outside of January as the best players in the world gather in Melbourne for the first Grand Slam of the year from February 8-21, 2021.
Expert tips, predictions and daily best bets for the Australian Open, live from Melbourne Park between February 8-21.
The 2021 Australian Open has been confirmed for a February start. The event will feature singles, doubles and wheelchair competitions, while qualifying will be held in Dubai (women) and Doha (men) from January 10-13.
Players will begin arriving in Melbourne from January 15 in order to complete mandatory hotel quarantine for 14 days. More than $80 million in prize money is on offer at the 2021 Australian Open, with players eliminated in the first round guaranteed to collect $100,000, which is a 15 per cent increase from 2020.
Read on below as we provide daily best bets for the Australian Open, along with our predictions and tips for the outright winner.
Daily Best Bets
Check back here when the tournament begins on Monday February 8 for expert tips and best bets for every day of the 2021 Australian Open. We will pick out a best bet for both the men’s and women’s draw for each day.
Daily Multi Tips
Make sure to bookmark this page for all our Australian Open multi tipping predictions. Our tennis expert will release his best and value multi predictions for every day of the tournament.
Australian Open Seeds
Check back here in early February when the 2021 Australian Open seeds are announced.
Australian Open Tips & Predictions (men)
World No. 1 and now the undisputed greatest Australian Open champion in history, Novak Djokovic will once again be the man to beat as the Serbian returns to Melbourne Park in search of a ninth title.
Djokovic conquered Dominic Thiem in five sets in last season’s final, but that would ultimately be the high point in a year like no other, with the 17-time major champion defaulted from the US Open, receiving a straight sets demolition job from Rafael Nadal in the French Open final and suffering a semi-final loss to Thiem at the ATP Finals in November.
Throw in the controversy surrounding the Adria Tour during the middle of the year and it was certainly a roller-coaster season for Djokovic. However, until proven otherwise, he is the main man at Melbourne and he started a deserved favourite to emerge triumphant once again in 2021.
With Nadal never really producing his best tennis in Melbourne and Roger Federer in doubt as he continues to recover from knee surgery, perhaps Thiem – who captured his maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open – will be his fiercest rival once more. The Austrian took advantage of Djokovic’s default in New York to finally get his hands on major silverware, holding off Alexander Zverev in one of the tensest fifth-set tiebreaks you will ever see.
Thiem has improved his hardcourt play considerably over the last two years and is a genuine contender in Melbourne, but can his muscular baseline game hold up over five sets against Djokovic’s brick-wall defence? It didn’t last year and he will have to be operating at the absolute peak of his powers to reverse the result of last year’s final.
Then there’s the Next Gen, who are finally starting to make some noise. Stefanos Tsitsipas made his breakthrough in Melbourne two years ago when he beat Federer to reach the semi-finals, Alexander Zverev got the Grand Slam monkey off his back by making the US Open final, Daniil Medvedev advanced to the 2019 US Open final and backed that up with a semi-final run in 2020 and Andrey Rublev was on fire throughout the disrupted 2020 season, leading the tour for the most titles won with five and equalling Djokovic with a tour-leading 41 match wins.
Australian stars Nick Kyrgios and Alex de Minaur are also worth keeping an eye on in their home slam.
In saying that, there’s still question marks surrounding all of them. Tsitsipas is still far too erratic and unreliable, Zverev has the yips on serve that isn’t showing signs of improving, Medvedev is as temperamental as they come and Rublev has never made it past the quarter-finals of a major tournament. Kyrgios can beat anyone and lose to anyone on any given day and that’s not conducive to winning seven best-of-five matches over two weeks, while de Minaur still doesn’t have the weapons to beat the very best on the biggest stages.
Djokovic is the overwhelming favourite for me and Thiem is a close second. Nadal can never be discounted, but I don’t like his chances of lifting the trophy in Melbourne. After that, it’s an open field, but out of the young guns, Rublev is my best pick as the smokey.
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Australian Open Tips & Predictions (women)
Unlike the men’s field, where there are only a handful of realistic contenders, the women’s event is much more open – so much so you could make a genuine case for over 20 players to take home the title,
But, while it’s much harder to predict the champion, that means there’s significantly more value in your return if you can tip the winner – even if you decide to go with the favourites.
Naomi Osaka is currently the favourite with most bookmakers and I think she’s excellent value at $9.00 with bet365 at the time of writing. The Japanese-Haitian is becoming increasingly more comfortable with her role in the spotlight as a top player and put together a superb 16-2 record in 2020, with her obvious highlight coming at the US Open, where she captured the third major title of her career with a win over Victoria Azarenka in the final.
Osaka has form in Australia after winning the US Open the previous year – she made it back-to-back slams in 2018-19 when she defeated Petra Kvitova in the final and with so much uncertainty surrounding the tour these days, she is as good a bet as any to repeat that feat in 2021.
Ash Barty would be a cinderella story for homegrown fans as the World No. 1 aims to become the first local to win the Australian Open since Evonne Goolagong Cawley, but I don’t like her chances. Barty is the kind of player that needs rhythm and a lot of matches to hit top form and she hasn’t played a single match since last year’s Australian Open, opting to skip the US Open and her French Open title defence. Add in the pressure of competing at home and it’s an enormous task for the Aussie.
Sofia Kenin – the defending champion who knocked Barty out in the semi-finals – is such a dogged competitor and isn’t the type who will be overawed at the prospect of defending a slam title for the first time. The American’s counterpunching game is extremely reliable and it usually takes a very classy performance to beat her. In these uncertain times, Kenin is a player where you know what you’re going to get and you could certainly do worse than backing her to make it shock back-to-back Australian Open titles.
Serena Williams of course can never be ruled out, but the legendary American has struggled to stay fit and produce her best tennis over the space of two weeks at a slam since returning to the tour and it’s only going to get more difficult for her to surpass Margaret Court’s record as time goes on. Serena is facing a race against the clock, suffering more and more uncharacteristic defeats and is simply not as good as she once was.
Simona Halep, another former champion with Aussie coach Darren Cahill in her corner, is another reliable option and is a proven champion on these shores, but she still remains prone to being overpowered by ‘in-the-zone’ flashy players. One of those instances came at the French Open when she was eliminated by Iga Swiatek, who went on to claim a shock first major title. Swiatek is the real deal, but she’s still a very raw talent at 19 and I can’t see her making it consecutive slam triumphs here.
In closing notes, Garbine Muguruza is always worth keeping an eye on, Karolina Pliskova consistently stumbles at slams, Elina Svitolina continues to struggle inside the major arena and Bianca Andreescu remains a complete unknown quantity having sat out the entire 2020 season. One dark horse to look out for is Elise Mertens, who won tons of matches in 2020 and has been a semi-finalist in Melbourne before.
Osaka won the last hardcourt slam, has emerged victorious in Melbourne before and is a much more experienced player than when she last triumphed at the Australian Open two years ago. She’s my favourite for 2021.
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