Given their past successes at the Australian Open, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams are definitely among the favorites at this year’s tournament. However, there are other players that could make a title-winning run, which might come as a shock to observers of the game.
Here’s a look at some of the dark horses who could be in line for great things in Melbourne. (Seeds in parentheses; all photos, Getty Images)
Alex de Minaur (No. 21)
In the 2000s, only one Australian man, Lleyton Hewitt, has reached the final of his home Slam. Will the former world No. 1’s protégé be the next one to do so? De Minaur, one of the brightest young talents in the men’s game, got the year off to a perfect start with his fourth career title, but he took a couple of hits playing in the No. 1 spot for Australia at the ATP Cup. He has a dangerous match first up in Melbourne against two-time quarterfinalist Tennys Sandgren, but could push through that—and possibly contend for the title.
Elise Mertens (No. 18)