Top Australian Open men's contenders

Darren Walton
·4-min read

HOW THE LEADING MEN SHAPE UP FOR THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN STARTING ON MONDAY:

NOVAK DJOKOVIC (SRB)

Age: 33

Ranking: 1

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US145,656,177

Career titles: 81

Grand slam titles: 17 (Australian Open 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2020; French Open 2016; Wimbledon 2011, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019; US Open 2011, 2015, 2018)

Australian Open win-loss record: 75-8

Best Australian Open results: champion 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2020

Unbeaten in Australia in his past 23 singles matches, the king of Melbourne Park confirmed his tag as favourite for a ninth Open crown with three more impressive wins at the ATP Cup.

RAFAEL NADAL (ESP)

Age: 34

Ranking: 2

Plays: left-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US123,482,764

Career titles: 86

Grand slam titles: 20 (Australian Open 2009; French Open 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020; Wimbledon 2008, 2010; US Open 2010, 2013, 2017, 2019)

Australian Open win-loss record: 65-14

Best Australian Open results: champion 2009; runner-up 2012, 2014, 2017, 2019

The five-times Open finalist has the chance to move past Roger Federer on the all-time men's grand slam title leaderboard but a back injury has raised serious concerns over the great Spaniard's fitness.

DOMINIC THIEM (AUT)

Age: 27

Ranking: 3

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US28,163,125

Career titles: 17

Grand slam titles: 1 (US Open 2020)

Australian Open win-loss record: 16-7

Best Australian Open result: runner-up 2020

The Austrian will fancy his chances after going within a set of upsetting Djokovic in last year's dramatic title decider before breaking through for his long-awaited maiden major in New York in September.

DANIIL MEDVEDEV (RUS)

Age: 24

Ranking: 4

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US14,130,584

Career titles: 9

Grand slam titles: 0

Australian Open win-loss record: 7-4

Best Australian Open results: fourth round 2019, 2020

A relentless baseline counter-puncher in the Djokovic mould, Medvedev warmed up beautifully for the Open by leading Russia to ATP Cup glory after capturing the 2020 season-ending championship in London.

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS (GRE)

Age: 22

Ranking: 6

Plays: right-handed

Career prize money: $US12,532,057

Career titles: 5

Grand slam titles: 0

Australian Open win-loss record: 6-3

Best Australian Open result: semi-finals 2019

The Greek sensation ended Roger Federer's quest for an Open hat-trick two years ago en route to the last four and returns as an established member of the men's elite and a genuine title threat.

ALEXANDER ZVEREV (GER)

Age: 23

Ranking: 7

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US23,308,531

Career titles: 13

Grand slam titles: 0

Australian Open win-loss record: 12-5

Best Australian Open result: semi-finals 2020

Long touted as the most likely of generation next to ascend to world No.1, Zverev will still be stinging after blowing a two-set lead over Thiem in the US Open final in his best chance yet to land a slam.

BEST OUTSIDER

ANDREY RUBLEV (RUS)

Age: 23

Ranking: 8

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US6,666,124

Career titles: 7

Grand slam titles: 0

Australian Open win-loss record: 6-4

Best Australian Open result: fourth round 2020

The Russian rocketed into the world's top 10 with a tour-best five- title season last year and, like Medvedev, was undefeated in four singles rubbers at the ATP Cup.

BEST AUSTRALIAN HOPES

ALEX DE MINAUR

Age: 21

Ranking: 23

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US4,557,531

Career titles: 4

Grand slam titles: 0

Australian Open win-loss record: 3-3

Best Australian Open result: third round 2019

After missing last year's Open with an abdominal tear, the Australian No.1 returns as hungry as ever and in form after snaring his fourth career title last month in Turkey is a lightning start to 2021.

NICK KYRGIOS

Age: 25

Ranking: 47

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US8,557,848

Career titles: 6

Grand slam titles: 0

Australian Open win-loss record: 14-7

Best Australian Open result: quarter-finals 2015

The mercurial two-time grand slam quarter-finalist remains capable of beating anyone on his day but doubts persist over his mental and physical capacity to win a grand slam, especially after missing most of 2020.