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Novak Djokovic
’s bid for a record 25th major title will begin next week in Australia, and the Serbian legend has been drawn into a quarter with his opponent in last year’s final (Stefanos Tsitsipas), and into the same half as Jannik Sinner, the rising force that he defeated for the title at the 2023 ATP Finals in Turin.

Tennis Express

Anyway you slice them. Grand Slam draws always seem to scream Djokovic. The powerhouse won three of the four majors on offer in 2023 to take his total to 24, and even though he has been dealing with an injury to his right wrist, it is difficult to see anyone getting in his way in Melbourne, where he is a ten-time champion.

Djokovic, who faces a qualifier in his opening match, will get a taste of the local ire in a clash with Alexei Popyrin or Marc Polmans, and if he advances to the third round he could see his former rival Andy Murray or even Gael Monfils. But neither of the two has aged quite as superbly as Djokovic.


Things might get trickier for Djokovic in the second week. His slated round of 16 opponent, based on seeding, is the rising American Ben Shelton; Djokovic could see Tsitsipas, his opponent in last year’s final, in the quarterfinals, and finally Sinner, who is on the cusp of a breakthrough, in the semifinals.

Alcaraz's Half Features Zverev and Rune

In the lower half, No.2 seed Carlos Alcaraz has drawn former finalist Daniil Medvedev into his half, along with Alexander Zverev and Holger Rune. Alcaraz opens with Richard Gasquet of France, followed by either Dan Evans or Lorenzo Sonego in round two. In the third round, Alcaraz could see Alexander Bublik, the hard-serving Kazakh, and in the fourth round American Tommy Paul could be waiting.

Alcaraz is slated to face Zverev in the quarterfinals if the seed hold, and Mevedev in the semis. It’s the trickier draw, when compared next to Djokovic's. Now well into his comeback from ankle surgery in 2022, Zverev is coming into form and could be a dangerous threat to Alcaraz. Same for Medvedev, who valiantly took down the Spaniard in the semifinals at last year’s US Open.

That said, Alcaraz will likely be relieved to be on the other side of the draw as Sinner, a rival who has given him fits over the last two seasons.

First Round Popcorn

Among the most enticing first-round clashes on the men’s side this year are Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Matteo Berrettini, and Dominic Thiem vs Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Tsitsipas holds the 3-0 edge over Berrettini but he has been dealing with some back issues of late.

Thiem leads Auger-Aliassime 1-0, but they have not played since 2020, and Thiem’s form has been less than desirable over the last two years, ever since he returned from a nine-month hiatus due to wrist and arm issues.

Auger-Aliassime himself has dealt with a knee issue, and has struggled to stack up wins of late.