The Stats Corner: Assessing the Australian Open Men’s Draw

Novak Djokovic Australian Open

Ahead of the first Grand Slam event of the season in Melbourne, The Stats Corner looks into the Australian Open Men’s Draw.

Rafael Nadal poses an interesting question

A possible surprise is that Nadal holds the best performance data on hard courts over the previous twelve months. As he was the US Open Champion, this stacks up. However, he is still seen as just behind to Djokovic and Federer on this surface by some. This information may cause a slight hesitation for those happy to write off the Spaniard’s chances due to poor event history.

Away from the big three, Daniil Medvedev’s incredible hard-court run in 2019 helps out his hold/break statistics to bring him up to elite standard. Somewhat surprisingly, Gael Monfils shows up in this statistic as an elite level hard-court player. If the Frenchman could rely on his body and mind to hold up to the same standards then he would be a massive threat.

Federer and Djokovic dominate event history

No surprises here. They have split the titles here almost solely between them in the previous decade, only Stan Wawrinka broke the duopoly in 2014. Each of them has won almost 90% of their matches in Melbourne, quite astonishing consistency.

Of the outsiders, Grigor Dimitrov carries an excellent record here in comparison to his usual standard. Wawrinka’s elite level at this tournament also bears up well. Matteo Berrettini has yet to win a match at the Australian Open, an interesting stat for someone seeded inside the elite top eight.

Goffin and Bautista Agut surprisingly big-time?

We all know that Nadal and Djokovic dominated the Grand Slams last year, winning two each. In the lower ranks though, David Goffin and Roberto Bautista Agut put together a very solid sequence of Grand Slams.

Interestingly, both players backed up this trait in the recent ATP Cup. Bautista Agut went through that tournament without dropping a set, including thrashing Nick Krygios on home turf. (Okay, not real turf, fake turf.) Meanwhile, David Goffin led Belgium brilliantly. He won key singles rubbers to allow them to progress from the group and then defeated Nadal in wonderful style. Perhaps these men are worth following when the stakes are high.

The aforementioned Krygios and the Canadian Denis Shapovalov didn’t achieve winning records in the Grand Slams in 2019. They are both well fancied for a good run in Melbourne, so they will be hoping to improve that trend in 2020.

Hard to see past the favourites once more

The statistical domination of the big three, even in the modern measures, shows no signs of weakness. Nadal, Djokovic, and Federer are ranked one, two and three (in varying order) across every measure of performance collated for this study.

It appears inevitable that this Slam will fall to one of these three greats. With his incredible record at this event, and a better recent record on hard court than Federer, the nod is given to Novak Djokovic to take yet another Australian Open crown.

Main Photo from Getty.