Tennis Action from Australia – 2024

Summertime in Australia is always associated with the AO, the first major Tennis tournament of the calendar year. It is one of the most eagerly anticipated sports events in Australia and one of the most followed Tennis tournaments around the world, being the first of the four majors.

Qualification started on Monday 8th with the tournament itself starting on Sunday 14th with the Men’s final concluding proceedings on the 28th of January. Building up to the AO the world’s top tennis players will take part in other events such as the Canberra International, Adelaide International and Hobart International, building up fitness and getting prepared for the main event.

The men’s game continues to be dominated by Novak Djokovic so the question this year, as has been the case for a fair few years now, is whether anyone can stop him. He has won the AO ten times and is aiming to win a record 25th Grand Slam title. He is currently on a 28 match winning streak in the AO, but there are a few young players who might be able to challenge him, although this has been said before. Carlos Alcaraz is his most likely challenger, currently ranked as the world number 2 and winner of Wimbledon last season as well as the US Open the year before. On the Women’s side of the draw, it is Iga Swiatek who comes into this as favourite, despite her less than impressive record at Melbourne Park and she is likely to be challenged by the likes of reigning champion Aryna Sabalenka, Elena Rybakina or potentially Coco Gauff. The draw for the main event will take place on January 11th where we will find out who will take on who and who might have an easier run to the latter rounds of the competition. 

One disappointment for local fans is that Australian Nick Kyrgios will not be taking part in this year’s tournament due to ongoing injury concerns as he continues to struggle after missing all four majors in 2023. A further disappointment will be the fact that Rafael Nadal has also pulled out, he was aiming to return after hip surgery but will be missing due to a minor muscle injury. On the positive side, Angelique Kerber and Naomi Osaka will both return after both giving birth last year and Emma Raducanu will also be present, hoping to continue her rehabilitation after multiple surgeries last year. 

This year’s prize money has seen a significant increase, up by $10 Million on last year. The result of this generous increase is that the total prize money for the tournament will now be $86.5 Million with increases in every round. The total prize money has more than doubled since 2015 when it stood at $40 Million. The winner of both the men’s and women’s tournaments will both pocket $3,150,000.

Men’s Singles

Once again it is Novak Djokovic who is the man that everyone needs to beat as he is the top seed and favourite to win yet another major honour. There will be plenty who will feel they can challenge him though and we are sure to see some surprises along the way. The biggest threat to the Serbian is likely to be Carlos Alcaraz once again, the second seed. He has only played in the AO twice before and only ever made it to the third round but with two grand slams already to his name, he is the most likely challenger to Djokovic. Daniil Medvedev favours hardcourt and he made five finals on this surface, including the 2021 and 2022 AO finals, both of which he lost. One very interesting player is Italian Jannik Sinner, who beat Djokovic twice in the month of November, so he is someone that might actually worry the world number one. Other contenders include Tsitsipas, Rublev and Zverev whereas home support will be behind twelfth seed Alex de Minaur, the highest any Australian has been going into the tournament since Lleyton Hewitt all the way back in 2006. 

The top ten seeds for the men’s draw are:

1. Novak Djokovic (SRB)

2. Carlos Alcaraz (ESP)

3. Daniil Medvedev (RUS)

4. Jannik Sinner (ITA)

5. Andrey Rublev (RUS)

6. Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE)

7. Alexander Zverev (GER)

8. Holger Rune (DEN)

9. Hubert Hurkacz (POL)

10. Taylor Fritz (USA)

Women’s Singles

Iga Swiatek is the favourite to win the women’s tournament but the odds are not as favourable as they are for Djokovic on the men’s side of the draw. Her history in Melbourne is not the most impressive, she has only made the semi-finals once, in 2022, but the unpredictable nature of women’s tennis in general means it is tricky to judge whether she is a justified number one seed. Coco Gauff is certainly one to watch, the American won the US Open title last year and that really propelled her into the mainstream and she already has seven WTA Tour Singles titles at the age of 19. She has reached number three in the world singles rankings and number one in the doubles. On the downside, she is another who doesn’t have the best record in Melbourne, having failed to reach the quarter-final stage so far. Two time champion Naomi Osaka is another who has a good shout, despite missing all of last season. She has the power and has four hard court titles to her name but equally she has lost in the third round of this tournament in 2020 and in 2022. Australians will struggle to pick out a player to support but Ajla Tomljanovic could be one. She was having a very good 2023 before injuries curtailed her season, reaching the quarter finals at both Wimbledon and the US Open.

The top ten seeds for the women’s draw are:

1. Iga Swiatek (POL)

2. Aryna Sabalenka (BLR)

3. Coco Gauff (USA)

4. Elena Rybakina (KAZ)

5. Jessica Pegula (USA)

6. Ons Jabeur (TUN)

7. Marketa Vondrousova (CZE)

8. Karolina Muchova (CZE)

9. Maria Sakkari (GRE)

10. Barbora Krejcikova (CZE)


Novak Djokovic is understandably a clear favourite going into this tournament, looking at his recent record in major tournaments it is hard to look past him. He does have a slight wrist injury though, so that might concern some backers. Alcaraz is the second favourite and has beaten Djokovic in a Grand Slam final but whether he feels quite at home yet in Australia is a question mark, his record stating that he might not quite feel ready. Looking at player form and the one that has improved most in recent times and seems like being worth backing is Italian Jannik Sinner, the current third favourite who can be backed at a price of 7.50. 

The women’s side of the draw is far less one sided and the favourite, Iga Swiatek, can be backed at a price of 3.30. That makes backing her quite tempting, despite the draw being pretty open and the likeliness of a few surprises being high. She will surely be very keen to add the AO to her list of achievements so this tournament is likely to be a priority for her this year. Last year’s winner Aryna Sabalenka is next up at 6.50,  the same price as Elena Rybakina.

Last season Djokovic got the better of Tsitsipas in the final and it is more than likely we will see him in the final once again. It is worth considering the draw for both the men’s and women’s competitions and also keeping in mind which players cope better with the hard court and which might struggle in the heat of the Australian summer. We hope for an entertaining two weeks of high quality Tennis and, without a doubt, whoever wins will be a worthy champion.