Men to watch at the Australian Open, which begins Monday at Melbourne Park (Sunday in the U.S.):
2021 Record: 55-7
Career Record: 989-199
2021 Titles: 5
Career Titles: 86
Grand Slam Singles Titles: 20 — Australian Open (9: 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2020, 2021), French Open (2: 2016, 2021), Wimbledon (6: 2011, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019, 2021), U.S. Open (3: 2011, 2015, 2018)
Last 5 Australian Opens: 2021-Won Championship, 2020-W, 2019-W, 2018-Lost 4th Round, 2017-2nd
Aces: After legal saga over whether he could enter Australia despite being unvaccinated, had been allowed to stay as of Thursday night in Australia. ... Will be seeking a 21st Grand Slam title to break the men's record he currently shares with rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. ... Also will be trying to win record-extending 10th Australian Open trophy and fourth in a row. ... Went 27-1 at majors in 2021, coming within a loss in the U.S. Open final of becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win a calendar-year Grand Slam.
Matchup: Could face Nadal in the semifinals.
Words: “ ... today I’m heading Down Under with an exemption permission. Let’s go 2022!” — Djokovic in a social media posting before he flew to Australia and was detained at the airport.
2021 Record: 63-13
Career Record: 225-100
2021 Titles: 4
Career Titles: 13
Grand Slam Singles Titles: 1 — U.S. Open (2021)
Last 5 Australian Opens: 2021-Runner-Up, 2020-4th, 2019-4th, 2018-2nd, 2017-1st
Aces: Won his first major championship at the U.S. Open in September, ending Djokovic's bid for a true Grand Slam by beating him 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in the final. ... Led ATP in wins in 2021 and became first man other than Djokovic, Federer, Nadal or Andy Murray to be ranked No. 1 or No. 2 since Lleyton Hewitt in 2005. ... 12 of 13 career titles came on hard courts.
Matchup: Could face Nick Kyrgios in the second round.
Words: “He's a very tactical player, in the sense (that) he baits you very well to go for a lot. He’s obviously a very good mover with very good end-range shots. I mean, to beat him you got to obviously be aggressive and take the net, but at the same time you don’t want to over-press." — 34th-ranked Alex de Minaur.
2021 Record: 59-15
Career Record: 312-141
2021 Titles: 6
Career Titles: 19
Grand Slam Singles Titles: 0 — Best: RU, U.S. Open (2020)
Last 5 Australian Opens: 2021-QF, 2020-SF, 2019-4th, 2018-3rd, 2017-3rd
Aces: Has reached the semifinals at every Gran Slam tournament except Wimbledon. ... Led the men's tour in singles titles last season. ... Won a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. ... ATP announced in October it is investigating allegations of abuse brought by a former girlfriend of Zverev's.
Matchup: Could face No. 30 seed Lloyd Harris in the third round, No. 14 Denis Shapovalov in the fourth.
Words: “I mean, look, I have my goals set. ... I’m looking forward to this year, because I think it’s going to be a very interesting one.” — Zverev.
2021 Match Record: 55-19
Career Record: 189-96
2021 Titles: 2
Career Titles: 7
Grand Slam Singles Titles: 0 — Best: RU, French Open (2021)
Last 5 Australian Opens: 2021-SF, 2020-3rd, 2019-SF, 2018-1st, 2017-Did Not Play
Aces: Grabbed a two-set lead against Djokovic in his first major final at last year's French Open before losing in five. Was the youngest man to reach a Grand Slam title match in more than a decade. ... Had surgery on his right elbow in November and says he is still trying to get his serve to operate properly.
Matchup: Could face No. 26 Grigor Dimitrov in the third round, No. 8 Casper Ruud in the quarterfinals.
Words: “Let’s see how tennis works out without the top three. I really want to see which players are going to prevail at this point.” — Tsitsipas, looking ahead to a tour without Djokovic, Federer or Nadal.
2021 Record: 24-5
Career Record: 1,031-209
2021 Titles: 2
Career Titles: 89
Grand Slam Singles Titles: 20 — Australian Open (1: 2009), French Open (13: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020), Wimbledon (2: 2008, 2010), U.S. Open (4: 2010, 2013, 2017, 2019)
Last 5 Australian Opens: 2021-QF, 2020-QF, 2019-RU, 2018-QF, 2017-RU
Aces: Seeking men’s-record 21st Grand Slam singles title after tying Federer’s mark of 20 by winning a 13th trophy at Roland Garros in October 2020 (Djokovic caught them last year). ... Played only two matches from June through the end of last season, sidelined by a painful left foot. Also tested positive for COVID-19 in December. ... Returned to action with a tune-up title in January.
Matchup: Could face No. 28 seed Karen Khachanov in the third round, No. 10 Hubert Hurkacz in the fourth.
Words: “There have been some very challenging moments, and I have been working very hard, even in the very tough moments. ... I am quite satisfied the way that I approached all these very challenging months in terms of attitude, in terms of positive spirit and in terms of passion to try to be back." — Nadal.
2021 Record: 41-12
Career Record: 113-65
2021 Titles: 2
Career Titles: 5
Grand Slam Singles Titles: 0 — Best: RU, Wimbledon (2021)
Last 5 Australian Opens: 2021-4th, 2020-2nd, 2019-1st, 2018-1st, 2017-DNP
Aces: Highest-ranked man from Italy since 1978. ... All eight of his career ATP finals came on clay or grass courts — as did his lone major final, a loss to Djokovic at the All England Club last season — but he did reach a Grand Slam semifinal at the 2019 U.S. Open.
Matchup: Faces Brandon Nakashima of the U.S. in the first round, could face No. 31 seed Carlos Alcaraz in the third.
Words: “I know that I can win this title. I’m not sure if I’m going to do it, but I know I can do it. So that’s what I’m going to do in the next weeks, in the next months and years: try to lift the trophy." — Berrettini after his loss to Djokovic at Wimbledon last July.
2021 Record: 38-24
Career Record: 103-78
2021 Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Grand Slam Titles: 0 — Best: SF, U.S. Open (2021)
Last 5 Australian Opens: 2021-4th, 2020-1st, 2019-DNP, 2018-DNP, 2017-DNP
Aces: Teamed with Denis Shapovalov to help Canada win the ATP Cup in Australia in January. ... Smooth strokes and developing game helped him get to the quarterfinals and semifinals of majors last year; he's appeared in a total of 10 majors. ... Biggest blemish on his resume so far is going 0-8 in singles finals on tour, dropping all 16 sets.
Matchup: Could face Medvedev in the quarterfinals.
Words: “We have been believing and dreaming for a long time, pushing each other as well and I think we just elevate each other in a really positive and good way.” — Auger-Aliassime on his relationship and history with Shapovalov, dating to before they were 10 years old.
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