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Australian Open: Is Djokovic still the main man in Melbourne?

Australia Djokovic 1

Will Novak Djokovic continue to dominate in Melbourne or will age and time catch up with him, as it has for Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal?

At 36 and nursing a wrist injury, there are doubts about Djokovic’s fitness and readiness to win an 11th Australia Open title, starting from Sunday.

Of the ‘big three’, only Djokovic will be in Melbourne and it seems like he will be a lone fighter among the elite this year.

Federer retired a few years ago and Nadal pulled out of the tournament last week with another injury, opening up debate about how long he will still be around, competing at the highest level.

It does somehow feel as if a change is happening in the men’s tennis game.

Next generation

The next generation, led by Carlos Alcaraz and including the likes of Jannik Sinner, Alex de Minaur and Holger Rune, are slowly finding their feet and together with the established tour players like Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Matteo Berrettini, and Alex Zverez 2024 could see a big change with new players contesting the four men’s major finals.

At his best and when fully fit Djokovic, with 24 major titles, is still possibly the best men’s player in the game, but there’s no doubt he has a big challenge ahead of him. Tennis fans must start preparing for a changing of the guard.

Women contenders

But if the men’s game over the last number of years has been fairly predictable, the women’s game has been the exact opposite with a number of players coming to the fore to contest the biggest finals.

Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka look like the strongest and most consistent players and are certainly the favourites going into the Australian Open, but we’ve seen any one of the top 20 to 30 women’s players show enough skill and hunger to win a Grand Slam title.

Elena Rybakina, Caroline Garcia, Karolina Pliskova will be threats in Melbourne, and how about former champion Sofia Kenin, Angelique Kerber, Naomi Osaka, who’re all back in action after absences and no doubt keen to make an impression. And then there’s Caroline Wozniacki, too.

Or will Coco Gauff be the one to come out on top in two weeks’ time or could it be Ons Jabeur lifting the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup?

We’re all set for a bumper Australian Open and an exciting year of Grand Slam tennis.