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Australian Open: Novak Djokovic the man for Melbourne

Novak Djokovic is the most decorated male player in Australian Open history and the super Serb is a warm favourite to regain his crown in January.

Rafael Nadal is the defending champion in Melbourne but Djokovic was a notable absentee from last year's competition, which should ensure the 21-time Grand Slam champion is fully fired-up in a bid to return to the winner's enclosure.

Prior to Nadal's epic five-set success over Daniil Medvedev in the final last season, Djokovic had won the Australian Open in three consecutive years, taking his total tally Down Under to nine.

Djokovic is 11/10 to claim bragging rights by winning the first Grand Slam of the season and it is interesting to note that whenever the former world number one has gone beyond the quarter-final at Melbourne Park, he has gone on to lift the trophy.

What: 2023 Australian Open
Where: Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia
When: Monday 16th January - Sunday 29th January, 2023
How to watch: Discovery+, bet365 Sports Live Streaming
Odds: Mens - Novak Djokovic 11/10, Carlos Alcaraz 11/2, Daniil Medvedev 13/2, Nick Kyrgios 10/1, Rafael Nadal 11/1, Alexander Zverev 14/1

Djokovic has his eyes set on Nadal

Despite having racked up 21 Grand Slam successes already in what has been a truly astonishing career, Djokovic still sits only second in the race to be the most decorated male player of all-time.

That is because Nadal is up to 22 Grand Slam titles after last season's victories at the Australian Open and the French equivalent and the Spaniard is 12/1 to defend successfully in Melbourne.

However, 35-year-old Djokovic is a year younger than his Spanish rival and has been less prone to injuries too.

There is little doubt that the boy from Belgrade will have his eyes set on eclipsing the efforts of the Majorcan and with Nadal likely to take some stopping at his beloved French Open - a tournament he has won 14 times - then winning the Australian Open could be decisive.

Djokovic took part in only two Grand Slam competitions last season, making the quarter-final of the French Open before winning Wimbledon for a seventh time in July.

In 2021, Djokovic won the opening three Majors of the season before coming unstuck in the US Open final to Medvedev.

Djokovic was bidding to become the first man in 52 years to win all four Grand Slam tournaments in a calendar year, although triumphing in three in one season shows that he still has plenty to offer despite his advancing years.

Super Serb has made the Melbourne Major his own

Djokovic made his Australian Open debut way back in 2005 and it took until his third visit to Melbourne to get a Grand Slam victory under his belt.

However, it didn't take long for the Serb to make the tournament his own, with him claiming his first piece of Grand Slam silverware in Australia in 2008.

Since then, Djokovic has failed to reach the quarter-final only twice in 14 attempts, with him winning it a record-breaking nine times, which is three more than the great Roger Federer.

Every time the 35-year-old has gone past the quarter-final of the Australian Open he has gone on to claim the title.

With 82 wins and just eight defeats in 90 matches at the Australian Open, Djokovic has a formidable record Down Under and looks the one they all have to beat again this season.

A potential stumbling block is that Djokovic now finds himself at world number five, having so regularly found himself as the tournament top seed.

That makes the potential draw harder so the Serbian will have to ensure he is ready to go from the off.

Djokovic still remains one of the best hard-court performers in the world, although he would have a greater advantage over the opposition on the hallowed turf of Wimbledon.

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Reigning supreme in Melbourne has its negatives

The best players tend to be prepared to hit the ground running when the season starts in earnest in January and history suggests Djokovic will be raring to go.

But Djokovic's performances tend to waver as the campaign progresses, with the Serb seemingly putting his maximum effort into winning in Australia and at Wimbledon.

Clay has always been Djokovic's most vulnerable surface while the US Open, which is the season's closing Grand Slam, is an event he has won only three times.

Djokovic has failed to win the Major in the States since 2018 and failed to go beyond the fourth round in two of his last trips there, which suggests peaking for the start of a campaign often leaves him exploitable come the end of it.

The 11/10 on offer about him winning the Australian Open makes much more appeal than the 11/8 available about him triumphing at the US Open.

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