Australian Open 2019: 5 Players to watch out for
The first Grand Slam of the year is about to begin, and all the players will be eager to start the year on a positive note. The recently concluded Hopman Cup (which was played in Perth) and the Brisbane International served as tune-up events for the players ahead of the Australian Open.
The Auckland Open and Sydney International, as well as the Kooyong Classic, also gave an opportunity to some of the upcoming players to get much-needed match practice ahead of the big event. Roger Federer started the year on a positive note as he helped Switzerland win the Hopman Cup along with Belinda Bencic.
The Swiss legend will be hoping to continue his good run of form at the upcoming Australian Open. Federer won last year’s title by beating Croatian Marin Cilic in the final, and had also lifted the trophy in 2017 by beating Spaniard Rafael Nadal in the final. He will be hoping for a hat-trick of Australian Open titles.
Novak Djokovic too will be aiming to start the year on a positive note; the Serbian looked in terrific form last year as he won Wimbledon and the US Open. The 31-year-old triumphed at SW19 by beating Kevin Anderson of South Africa in the final and at Flushing Meadows by beating Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina in the final.
Djokovic will once again be among the favorites to lift the title as he is looking in good shape. Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal too will be eager to begin the year on a high. The Spaniard faced some injury problems last year but the 32-year-old has on several occasions in the past shown the determination to make a comeback after suffering from injuries.
Nadal won last year’s French Open and lost against Djokovic in the semi-final of Wimbledon. He had to retire midway through the semi-final of the US Open against Del Potro, and will be eager to make a comeback with some spirited performances.
Andy Murray too, faced injury problems last year due to which he missed out on some events.The Scot recently announced that he will be retiring this year as he is unable to bear the pain caused due to his hip injury, and has hinted that the Australian Open could be his last event.
Apart from the big four, there are several other players who are slowly making a mark in the tennis circuit. Those players will be eager to prove their class and need to be on top of their game to match the quality of some the heavyweights.
Here, we take a look at five such players who could be in the limelight at the 2019 Australian Open.
#1 Dominic Thiem
Dominic Thiem is considered to be the next big thing in tennis circles. Thiem had a satisfactory 2018 and will be hoping to continue with the decent run of form in 2019 too.
The 25-year-old produced some fine performances last year by winning the Lyon Open in May and finishing runner-up at the Madrid Open in the same month. The Austrian also finished runner up against Rafael Nadal at the French Open last year.
Thiem's destructive forehands combined with his solid serve can trouble any opponent. His quick groundstrokes have outdone even the best, while his topspin is quite effective on high-bouncing surfaces.
While the Australian Open courts have been playing quicker the last couple of years, Thiem’s calmness could help him during pressure situations. He will be a real threat to all the top players in Melbourne this year.