Australian Open 2020: Men's singles power rankings
It has been a decade of dominance by the Big 4 at the Australian Open. Only twice in the last 10 years (Stan Wawrinka in 2014 and Marin Cilic in 2019) has anyone outside of the Big 4 even made it to the finals of the year's first Grand Slam.
At the start of the new decade, A lot of the Next Gen stars would be looking to end the dominance that the four men have shown in Grand Slams. But it will take more than just a strong will to conquer the likes Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in Melbourne.
On that note, here is a power rankings list of the top eight players on the basis of their past performances during the Australian summer. (The list is based on the performances of players on Australian hardcourts during the period of 1 January 2018 to 12 January 2020.)
The most recent find of the ATP Tour, Australia's Alex de Minaur has not only sent strong signals during the recently concluded ATP Cup, but also with his performances in the warm-up tournaments.
In the last couple of years, De Minaur has won the title in Sydney and made a few other quarterfinals on the subcontinent's hardcourts. His newfound abilities as an attacking counter-puncher have made him a legitimate threat.
7. Marin Cilic
Marin Cilic would have fond memories of his finals showing in Melbourne Park two years ago. The big-serving Croatian will be keen to replicate that success at this year's tournament.
Apart from a few other forgettable outings at warm-up tournaments, Cilic also has a disappointing fourth round loss at last year's edition to make up for in 2020.
Frenchman Lucas Pouille's claim to the No. 6 spot on the list comes from a spirited run to the semifinals at last year's tournament, where he beat higher ranked opponents in Borna Coric and Milos Raonic.
The aggressive baseliner crumbled under pressure last time, and it will be interesting to see if the experience of a big match situation helps him better his results this year.
Another player who'd be looking to capitalise on last year's inspired results is Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The Next Gen star had his big breakthrough at the ATP Finals last year, and would be eager to carry that form into the new season's first Grand Slam.
4. Roberto Bautista Agut
First quarterfinal at a Grand Slam and a title at the first tournament of the year meant a great start for the 2019 season for Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut.
Things only got better for Bautista Agut from there, thanks to his vastly improved fitness level. He has already looked impressive in his few matches at the ATP Cup this year; if he keeps firing forehands like he was last week, who knows what results he is capable of springing in Melbourne.
3. Roger Federer
Last January was a no-go for Federer, but he will be back for more at this year's Australian Open. Losing out to Stefanos Tsitsipas might have made Federer more determined for a big return to the year's first Grand Slam.
Federer has won three of the last 10 Australian Open trophies, and it will be fitting if he starts the decade with another Major title - a record-breaking 21st.
2. Rafael Nadal
The last time Rafael Nadal won in Melbourne was way back in 2009, and the Spaniard will be eager to end the decade-long drought at this year's tournament.
He had some big statement wins at the ATP Cup last week, and has a week to regroup before heading to the Slam. Last year's straight-set loss in the final would also be something that Nadal would be looking to alter this time around.
1. Novak Djokovic
As the reigning Australian Open and ATP Cup champion, Novak Djokovic has rocketed to the top of the power rankings - and that too with some margin to spare.
Djokovic will be the one to beat at the year's first Slam, but that should not come as a surprise as he has been the tournament's most successful men's singles player of all time.
The likes of Nick Kyrgios, Kevin Anderson, Mios Raonic and Daniil Medvedev have also delivered performances that inspire confidence ahead of the 2020 edition of the Australian Open.Published 13 Jan 2020, 04:57 IST