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Australian Open: Five players to watch in the men's singles

The season's first Grand Slam is nearly upon us and with the draws completed, here is a look at five players who are worth monitoring in the men's singles event at this month's Australian Open.

Novak Djokovic

To Win Australian Open - 11/10

There is no better place to begin on a list of players to watch at the Australian Open than with the man who has dominated the Grand Slam for the last decade.

Djokovic showed he is far from a fading force last year when he claimed three of the four Grand Slams on offer and his campaign began with a record 10th Australian Open title.

The Serbian has come out on top in four of the last five Melbourne majors and will again be the player to beat.

Djokovic finished the 2023 campaign on a high note by claiming the ATP World Tour Finals and will be targeting Grand Slam number 25 this month.

He should have overcome a minor wrist problem by the time his opening match in Melbourne arrives and Djokovic will need to be on top of his game with the likes of Jannik Sinner and Stefanos Tsitsipas in his segment of the draw.

Carlos Alcaraz

To Win Australian Open - 10/3

Djokovic's fiercest rival on the ATP tour last season was Carlos Alcaraz and the talented Spaniard looks the most likely to topple the Serbian in Melbourne.

Alcaraz won his first Grand Slam title on the hard courts at the US Open in 2022 and he won his second major last year, beating Djokovic in a five-set epic in the final of Wimbledon.

He did not feature in the season's first Grand Slam last year due to a hamstring injury and has never gone beyond the third round of the tournament - something he will be looking to change in the coming weeks.

Jannik Sinner

To Win Australian Open - 13/2

Although he fell at the final hurdle against Djokovic, Jannik Sinner finished last season as runner-up in the ATP World Tour Finals and he will be hoping that is a sign of things to come in 2024.

Sinner also signed off last season with a win over Djokovic in the Davis Cup and he is one of the most promising players on the ATP tour as the new season gathers pace.

Having reached the last eight at each of the Australian Open, French Open and US Open, Sinner enjoyed his best ever Grand Slam performance when making the semi-finals of Wimbledon last year.

Sinner has been given a pretty favourable route to the quarter-finals in Melbourne with Karen Khachanov and Frances Tiafoe his most notable obstacles in the last 16.

Andrey Rublev could await him in the last eight but Sinner has won four of the six meetings between the players and is worth keeping an eye on down under.

Holger Rune

To Win Australian Open - 22/1

Danish ace Holger Rune is another member of the next generation looking to take the reins from Djokovic and he has started 2024 with a point to prove.

Rune finished runner-up at the Brisbane International as part of his preparations for the season's first Grand Slam, taking down Australian pair Max Purcell and James Duckworth as well as Alexander Shevchenko and Roman Safiullin en route to the final, in which he lost to Grigor Dimitrov.

There were plenty of positives to draw from the warm-up event and Rune was looking good in the Australian Open last season, winning his first three matches against Filip Krajinovic, Maxime Cressy and Ugo Humbert in straight sets.

His tournament ended in the fourth round but only after he put up a tremendous fight in a five-set classic with Rublev and he could be ready to go a few steps further this month.

Ben Shelton

To Win Australian Open - 50/1

One of the surprise performances at last season's Australian Open was the run of Ben Shelton but the American has since been on a mission to prove his success in Melbourne was no fluke.

Unseeded Shelton reached the quarter-finals in Melbourne last year, crashing out against fellow American Tommy Paul after wins against the likes of JJ Wolf, Alexei Popyrin and Nicolas Jarry.

Remarkably, that was only Shelton's second ever Grand Slam appearance and it was the first time he had competed outside of the USA.

But that was not the end of Shelton's success in 2023. He raised plenty of eyebrows at the Cincinnati Masters, beating world number five Casper Ruud to reach the third round as a wildcard.

His clay-court and grass-court campaigns were underwhelming but Shelton came back with a bang at last year's US Open, forging a sensational run to the semi-finals after wins over compatriots Paul and Tiafoe, and he will be eager to make his mark on the harder surface again.

This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.

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