Australian Open: Betting Tips, Stats & History - Monday 14th January 2019

Australian Open Logo on Billboard
Credit: ymgerman, Bigstock

The Australian Open is one of the highlights of the tennis calendar and one of the four majors. Winning the tournament will allow players to go down in folk law in the sport and whilst it’s probably fair to say not quite as prestigious as Wimbledon or the US Open, having a win in the Australian heat is definitely something to savour.

The tournament is not only very important because it’s a major, but it’s the first major of the year. There is a sizeable break between the last major (The US Open) and the Australian, which takes place in January. Often players will be using this period to solely concentrate on this event, meaning it gets more interest than it might. 

It’s held at Melbourne Park, Melbourne and is played on the hard courts there. Interestingly, up until 1987, the tournament was actually played on grass, but switched in an attempt to get a more consistent playing surface, mainly down to the extreme heats that can be on offer. 

Men's Singles Betting Tips for 2019

Djokovic to Make It Three Grand Slams in a Row

We have finally seen the end of the dominance of the ‘big four’ in men’s tennis. At times it’s felt as though Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray have been hosting their own party to which other players are only occasionally invited but that party is set to come to an end in 2019.

Sadly for British tennis fans Andy Murray is the first to leave the stage as his long standing hip injury is set to end his career sooner rather than later. Nadal is battling with his own injury problems whilst age is finally catching up with Federer. That leaves Djokovic who roared back to form in the second half of 2018 and is the bookies’ favourite to start 2018 in the best possible way by winning the year’s first Grand Slam, the Australian Open.

Novak Djokovic (6/5)

Andy Murray’s recent press conference in which he announced that this year’s Wimbledon would be his final professional tournament (providing his hip holds out until July) was difficult to watch for all tennis fans. It must have been especially tough for his friend, Novak Djokovic, who is one of the few currently active tennis players who can truly empathise with what Murray is going through.

All is well with Djokovic currently but there was a time when he feared for his career as an elbow injury robbed him of the ability to compete at the top level. That the Serbian was able to win both Wimbledon and the US Open in 2018 is testament to his incredible fighting spirit. Now that he has come back from the brink of despair, Djokovic is more determined than ever to make the most of the rest of his career.

Djokovic did tire towards the end of last season and was not at his best when beaten by Alexander Zverev in the final of the ATP World Tour Finals. His recent loss to Roberto Bautista-Agut in Doha shows that he is still getting up to speed in 2019 but you can be certain that he’ll arrive in Melbourne ready and raring to go. Djokovic really is the fairest of favourites with the bookies and can be backed pre-tournament at odds of 6/5 with bet365.

Alexander Zverev (12/1)

Alexander Zverev has been spoken about as the great young hope of the future of tennis for some time now. 2018 provided Zverev with several breakthrough moments including that win at the O2 but has had problems bringing his best stuff to the Grand Slams. The 21-year-old admitted that his issues at the biggest tournaments were “definitely not physical” when he was knocked out by the unheralded Chung Hyeon in last year’s Australian Open.

It is easy to forget that Zverev is so young given how long he has been around the ATP Tour. Many of his achievements seem to be taken for granted including the fact that he is the only current player outside of the big four to have won three Masters titles. The belief is growing around this extremely exciting German star and although his results in the Australian Open aren’t great, he loves playing on hard courts and the speed of the surfaces at Melbourne Park should give him a real edge so expect Zverev to be firmly in the conversation for the title at 12/1 with Betfair.

Borna Coric (50/1)

Borna Coric is another player who should find that the speed of the courts in Melbourne suits his game very well. The 22-year-old has started to take his chances in the big leagues and his coach has even spoken about the possibility of the Croatian winning a Grand Slam before Zverev.

It remains to be seen how that prediction pans out but there is absolutely no doubt that Coric’s career is heading in the right direction. He heads to Melbourne at a career high mark of number 12 in the world which he puts down to careful management of his schedule. Providing Coric and his team get their preparations and tactics right in individual matches he may well cause a stir in Melbourne so is worth each way support at 50/1 with BetVictor.

Women's Singles Betting Tips for 2019

Kerber Good Value to Gain Second Title

Trying to predict what will happen in women’s tennis in 2019 is a very tough task. There are so many players capable of winning the very biggest tournaments of all that the one thing you can be certain of is betting upsets throughout the year. The Australian Open will certainly see more than its fair share of seeds falling in the early rounds, previously unheralded players making names for themselves and a worthy winner come the end of two weeks of world class sporting drama.

If you are looking for proof that the 2019 Australian Open is indeed open you only have to look at the outright winner betting market. Keep scrolling down the betting odds and you’ll continue to find players in with a genuine chance of lifting the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup. On the face of it that’s a scary proposition for punters but there is some excellent betting value around so let’s take a look at three women well worthy of support.

Angelique Kerber (8/1)

The nature of women’s tennis is such that it is almost impossible for any one player to put together a string of positive results at the top level. Still, Angelique Kerber’s slump in form during 2017 was a real surprise. She won two of 2016’s Grand Slams and reached world number one, but then Kerber basically lost her game in 2017 and had to work incredibly hard to regain her form and confidence. That hard work paid off last year when Kerber secured some impressive results headlined by her win at Wimbledon.

Kerber’s game was already back on track when she landed in Melbourne last year. She ultimately lost out to Simona Halep in a thrilling semi-final in which both players squandered match points in the third set and although losing at that level obviously hurt it gave Kerber the confidence to know that she was back where she belonged. Serena Williams is the understandable favourite in the betting for the 2019 Australian Open but there are more than enough question marks about her form and fitness to believe she’s under-priced at a general 9/2 whereas the 8/1 that bet365 are quoting on Kerber is much more tempting.

Ashleigh Barty (20/1)

Australian hopes of a champion in the women’s tournament this year are very much being carried by Ashleigh Barty. At 22, Barty clearly has a lot of room for improvement and time in which to fulfil her potential but she’s shown enough recently to suggest that Australian tennis fans are not simply thinking with their hearts over their heads.

Barty’s run through the field in the Sydney International shows that her game is shaping up very nicely indeed on the hard courts whilst she has reached the third round in each of her last two appearances at Melbourne Park. Barty is also a Grand Slam champion already thanks to her win in the US Open doubles alongside CoCo Vandeweghe. Barty will get more support than almost anybody else during the Australian Open and can ride the backing from the fans into the second week from where anything is possible so it is worth seriously considering backing her at 20/1 with Betfair.

Caroline Wozniacki (30/1)

The fact that the defending Australian Open champion, Caroline Wozniacki, is the available at 30/1 with Betfair tells you a great deal about just how competitive the tournament is expected to be. The Dane already had the confidence that came with holding the world number one ranking but was understandably delighted to finally end all the talk about her not having the mental fortitude to win a Grand Slam. The truth is that winning one of tennis’s premier events is a very difficult task but it is one that Wozniacki knows how to achieve and she may well at least challenge again.

Wozniacki does have an extra challenge facing her 12 months on from her maiden Grand Slam title though. She was rocked by a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis recently which is obviously going to have a major impact on her tennis. True to form though, the 28-year-old has come out fighting, claiming in an interview that she wants to be an inspiration to others and that there is no reason she cannot compete at the highest level providing she manages her schedule very carefully. Returning to the scene of her greatest triumph in tennis to date will do Wozniacki the power of good and could be the inspiration she herself needs to go all the way once again.

About the Australian Open

Rafael Nadal Playing at the Australian Open

As the Australian Open is exactly that, an ‘Open’ essentially anyone can qualify to play in the event. Providing that you are able to make it through the qualifying rounds then you are eligible to play. 

But, for most of the formats there will be a limited number of sports on offer. For the men’s game for example, there are 128 places in total, with the top 104 in the world rankings being guaranteed entry into the tournament. 

8 more selections are made up of wild card entries. As the host of the tournament, the Australian internal selection committee get to pick 4 of those, with the French also getting one pick. Wild card entries into qualifying events are also reserved in this section, where 3 more players who have won their respected tournament, based on geographic, are entered also. 

On top of that 16 players will qualify for the event via any of the qualification tournaments held around the world. 

Seedings

The world rankings play a huge role in the draw. The top 2 ranked players in the world are kept at opposite ends of the draw, which means that should they both win all of their matches, they would be set to meet each other in the final. The draw is broken down into 8 sections and with each section will be a player ranked from 1-8, then 9-16, then 17-24 and 25-32. The rest of the players will be then drawn randomly within each group, meaning wild cards and qualifiers are then mixed. 

Men's Top Half of Draw – Seeds & Possible Meetings

SeedPlayer (2019)Theoretical Round Meeting
1 Novak Djokovic 3rd Round 4th Round Quarter-finals Semi-finals
25 Denis Shapalov
21 David Goffin 3rd Round
15 Daniil Medvedev
12 Fabio Fognini 3rd Round 4th Round
23 Pablo Carreno Busta
32 Philipp Kohlschreiber 3rd Round
8 Kei Nishikori
4 Alexander Zverev 3rd Round 4th Round Quarter-finals
29 Gilles Simon
24 Hyeon Chung 3rd Round
16 Milos Raonic
11 Borna Coric 3rd Round 4th Round
17 Marco Cecchinato
28 Lucas Pouille 3rd Round
7 Dominic Thiem

Men's Bottom Half of Draw – Seeds & Possible Meetings

SeedPlayer (2019)Theoretical Round Meeting
6 Marin Cilic 3rd Round 4th Round Quarter-finals Semi-finals
26 Fernando Verdasco
22 Roberto Bautista Agut 3rd Round
10 Karen Khachanov
14 Stefanos Tsitsipas 3rd Round 4th Round
19 Nikoloz Basilashvili
30 Gael Monfils 3rd Round
3 Roger Federer
5 Kevin Anderson 3rd Round 4th Round Quarter-finals
31 Steve Johnson
20 Grigor Dimitrov 3rd Round
9 John Isner
13 Kyle Edmund 3rd Round 4th Round
18 Diego Schwartzman
27 Alex de Minaur 3rd Round
2 Rafael Nadal

Women's Top Half of Draw – Seeds & Possible Meetings

SeedPlayer (2019)Theoretical Round Meeting
1 Simona Halep 3rd Round 4th Round Quarter-finals Semi-finals
25 Mihaela Buzarnescu
23 Carla Suarez Navarro 3rd Round
16 Serena Williams
10 Daria Kasatkina 3rd Round 4th Round
18 Garbine Muguruza
27 Camila Giorgi 3rd Round
7 Karolina Pliskova
4 Naomi Osaka 3rd Round 4th Round Quarter-finals
28 Su-Wei Hsieh
21 Qiang Wang 3rd Round
13 Anastasija Sevastova
12 Elise Mertens 3rd Round 4th Round
17 Madison Keys
26 Dominika Cibulkova 3rd Round
6 Elina Svitolina

Women's Bottom Half of Draw – Seeds & Possible Meetings

SeedPlayer (2019)Theoretical Round Meeting
8 Petra Kvitova 3rd Round 4th Round Quarter-finals Semi-finals
32 Barbora Strycova
24 Lesia Tsurenko 3rd Round
11 Aryna Sabalenka
15 Ashleigh Barty 3rd Round 4th Round
22 Jelena Ostapenko
30 Maria Sharapova 3rd Round
3 Caroline Wozniacki
5 Sloane Stephens 3rd Round 4th Round Quarter-finals
31 Petra Martic
20 Anett Kontaveit 3rd Round
9 Kiki Bertens
14 Julia Goerges 3rd Round 4th Round
19 Caroline Garcia
29 Donna Vekic 3rd Round
2 Angelique Kerber

The draw has been designed like this to give the best players a reward for being a higher ranking. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean they will have easier games to play in theory, but on paper it is meant to give them an easier run in. 

Titles on Offer

The beauty of the Australian Open is that there are hundreds of games to watch throughout the fortnight of the event. They have a huge variety of competitions on offer, that include men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, mixed doubles, boy’s and girl’s singles, boy’s and girl’s doubles, men’s and women’s wheelchair, wheelchair quad singles, men’s and women’s wheelchair doubles and wheelchair quad doubles. 

Courts

Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne during Tennis Match

With so many games on offer, it may come as little surprise to see that there are 20 courts in total within Melbourne Park, often attracting crowds of over 750,000 over the course of the 2 weeks. In fact, the Australian Open is the highest attended major of the year, although it’s often very closely run with the US Open in terms of attendances each year. 

The majority of the courts are smaller offerings, but there are three that are classed as the main courts within the tournament. These are the Rod Laver Arena, Hisense Arena and the Margaret Court Arena. The biggest of the three is that of the Rod Laver, which holds 14,820. The second, and newest of the three, is that of the Hisense Arena with 10,500 capacity and the third is the Margaret Court, with 7,500. All three courts have retractable roofs, which can be used in the unlikely event that it rains, or if the temperatures get too hot. 

As you would expect, the finals are held at the Rod Laver Arena, as it’s here where the highest capacity is.

Prize Money

The prize money has been a hot topic of debate within the game of tennis, mainly because of the movement towards having equal pay for both the men’s and the women’s games. In total, there is a prize fund of $62.5 million (Australian Dollars) on offer, which get split up between all of the events. 

The winner of the singles will get $4.1 million and the runner up will get $2.05 million. for the doubles the winners get $750,000 per team and the runners up $375,000 per team. The mixed doubles is $165,000 and $84,000 respectively, per team. Below is a table of prize money for the 2019 tournament. All prices are listed in Australian dollars. .

Chart Showing Australian Open Prize Money by Round

To give you an idea of the money involved, it was only announced in 2012 that the record amount of prizemoney in tennis would be at the Australian Open, with $26 million on offer. By 2018 this amount has more than doubled and looks set to keep rising.

Chart Showing Australian Open Total Prize Money Increase

Scoring System

Chart Showing Australian Open Total Prize Money Increase

The scoring system in a match follows the usual sets of rules, in terms of 15, 30, 40 and deuce. But, in terms of games it works a little different to most tour events. The men’s games, for example, is played as best of 5 sets. In the first 4 sets of the match a player must get to 6/7 games before their opponents and to win by 2 clear games. If the result is tied at 6 games, then they will play in a playoff game to decide the winner of that set. This means they will be playing in points with the first to 7 points winning the play-off match. This also must be won by 2 clear games. 

The final set of the match must be won by two clear games, with no tiebreak in place. 

The women’s works in much the same way, but games are played as best of 3 sets. Tie breaks will occur in sets 1 and 2, with the 3rdand final set again needing to be won by 2 clear legs. 

Statistics

The Australian Open only became a professional event in 1969, much like the other 3 majors. So, the records, as a result, are often separated between pre and post this date. The modern-day records are often used when refereeing to most winners etc. but, bear in mind that there are other winners before these dates, of which any major ones we will mention. 

The most successful men’s player in modern times is that of Novak Djokovic, who’s won the Australian on 6 different occasions. It’s a pretty incredible feat when you think of it as he’s done it in an era where three of the best of all time (Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray) have all be in circulation. Roy Emerson of Australia has also won the Open on 6 times as well, all of his wins coming in the 1960’s, with 5 coming consecutively from 1963 to 1967. 

Men’s Singles - Last 5 Finals

YearWinnerRunner-UpScore
2018 Roger Federer Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1
2017 Roger Federer Rafael Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3
2016 Novak Djokovic Andy Murray 6-1, 7-5, 7-6
2015 Novak Djokovic Andy Murray 7-6, 6-7, 6-3, 6-0
2014 Stan Wawrinka Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3

On the women’s side a similar sort of story is painted with the names two of the most iconic of all time in women’s tennis. First off from the modern era you have Serena Williams winning on 7 different occasions. Williams has publicly stated that the Australian hasn’t always been her strongest surface, so to win 7 times on a surface you don’t like is nothing short of incredible. 

The other name is that of Margaret Court. You may have noticed that earlier in the article we mentioned that a court was named after her (no pun intended), The reason behind this that she won the women’s single titles 11 times, from 1960 to 1973. It’s also impressive to see that she did it after the switch from amateur to professional in 1969 as well. 

Women’s Singles Last 5 Finals

YearWinnerRunner-UpScore
2018 Caroline Wozniacki Simona Halep 7-6, 3-6, 6-4
2017 Serena Williams Venus Williams 6-4, 6-4
2016 Angelique Kerber Serena Williams 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
2015 Serena Williams Maria Sharapova 6-3, 7-6
2014 Li Na Dominika Cibulkova 7-6, 6-0

In terms of the doubles, on the men’s side the winner is that of brothers, Rob and Mike Bryan. The pair have become the most decorated doubles players of all time and the Australian was a coup they managed to achieve on 6 different occasions from 2006 to 2013.

Men’s Doubles - Last 5 Finals

YearWinnersRunners-UpScore
2018 Marach & Pavic Cabal & Farah 6-4, 6-4
2017 Kontinen & Peers Bryan & Bryan 7-5, 7-5
2016 Murray & Soares Nestor & Stepanek 2-6, 6-4, 7-5
2015 Bolelli & Fognini Herbert & Mahut 6-4, 6-4
2014 Kubot & Lindstedt Butorac & Klaasen 6-3, 6-3

On the women’s side of things, legend Martina Navratilova has been able to lift the title 8 times from 1980 to 1989. Her playing partner for much of that was Pam Shiver, picking up 7 of those wins all in a row from 1982 to 1989. 

Women’s Doubles - Last 5 Finals

YearWinnersRunners-UpScore
2018 Babos & Mladenovic Makarova & Vesnina 6-4, 6-3
2017 Mattek-Sands & Safarova Hlavackova & Shuai 6-7, 6-3, 6-3
2016 Hingis & Mirza Hlavackova & Hradecka 7-6, 6-3
2015 Mattek-Sands & Safarova Yung-jan & Jie 6-4, 7-6
2014 Errani & Vinci Makarova & Vesnina 6-4, 3-6, 7-5

History

Jack Crawford Playing Tennis Match
Four-time Australian Open Winner Jack Crawford by the State Library of New South Wales via Wikimedia Commons

The Australian Open has been running since 1905, which makes it one of the oldest tennis tournaments in the world. But, the tournament wasn’t called the Australian Open until 1969 when the event first went professional, moving away from amateur scene.

It was first known as the Australasian Championship before then becoming the Australian Championships in 1927. It wasn’t notified as one of the majors until 1927 and throughout the majority of the early years was run by the Lawn Tennis Association of Australia, before switching to hard courts in 1989. 

The tournament has been hosted in a number of cities within that time before finding it’s home in Melbourne. These have included Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Christchurch and Hastings. But, because of the crowds that Melbourne pulled in over the other cities it was decided that this would become the home of the tournament. 

The switch to Melbourne was one that saw almost immediate success. They enjoyed crowds of over 250,000 in 1988, up over 50% from the previous year. As the remoteness of Australia in the early 20th century meant that many players from overseas didn’t take part in the event, it wasn’t until the 1940’s that players from abroad came to play, most notably the US Davis Cup team. These days accessibility is much easier and so, like all tennis tournaments, players and even fans flock to the event from around the world. 

Attendances at the Australian Open have seen steady increases, almost year on year from the switch in 1988 to Melbourne. They now boast over 700,000 fans each year throughout the 2 weeks, a number that is only rivalled by that of the US Open. 

Rod Laver and Margaret Court

We’ve spoken about these names briefly throughout this article, mainly down to the naming of certain courts within Melbourne Park, but it was both Laver and Court that were able to really put Australian tennis on the map. 

Rod Laver Playing Tennis
Rod Laver by Joost Evers, Dutch National Archives via Wikimedia Commons (Image Cropped)

Rob Laver has managed to win 11 grand slam titles, making him one of the most successful men’s tennis players of all time. He won the Australian Open on 3 occasions and was the first winner of the event after it switched from an amateur to professional status in 1969. 

His success was highlighted by the fact that he managed to earn over $1.5million in prize money throughout a long career spanning through to 1977, when he later retired. His aggressive play was typical of the Australian sporting mentality and was a massive influence for the next and future generations of the sport.

Margaret Court Being Interviewed After a Tennis Match
Margaret Court by Eric Koch Dutch National Archives via Wikimedia Commons

Margaret Court was even more successful than Laver throughout her career and the two were pinned as the top tennis players in their respected fields for a generation. Court won a staggering 24 major titles and was only the second women to have completed the Grand Slam, winning all four majors in the same year in 1970. 

But, what’s just as impressive as her singles record is her doubles record, winning another 19 major titles throughout her career. Combined, no women or man has won more titles than Court, even to this day. 

Their success has been highlighted by Tennis Australia, naming two of the show courts that take centre stage for the tournament after them. 

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic Playing at the Australian Open

Djokovic is going to go down as one of the greatest tennis players of all time. But, his dominance within the modern era at the Australian Open has laid way to his latest success. He’s won the tournament on 6 different occasions, and we wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him add to this number in the coming years. 

The hard-hitting Serbian won the first of his titles in the 2008 final, beating Jo-Wilfred Tsonga. In fact, of the 6 finals he’s been a part of at the Australian Open he’s managed to life the trophy on each occasion. 

His most memorable battles and probably biggest rivalry at the courts throughout this time has come in the form of Scotsman, Andy Murray. Djokovic has beaten Murray 5 times from his 6 finals, with some marathon games thrown in for good measure. The closest and most memorable has to have been that of the 2013 final, where Murray went 1 set up, before Djokovic won the second on a tie break. At this point the game could have gone in any direction, but Djokovic stepped up to play some unbelievable tennis and win the game 3 sets to 1. 

For what it’s worth, Murray has been a beaten finalist at the Australian Open in 5 of the last 8 finals! 

Serena Williams

Serena Williams Celebrating Victory at the Australian Open
Tourism Victoria, flickr (Image Cropped)

Many people rank Serena Williams as the greatest female tennis player of all time. The 23 major titles certainly stand her amongst the elite, with 7 of those wins coming at the Australian Open, her joint most successful major alongside Wimbledon. 

She has over 70 career titles to her name at the time of writing and looks set to add more to that in the years to come. She’s been able to do the Grand Slam on 2 separate occasions, tying the record with Rod Laver and Steffi Graff. She sits just 1 major title behind that of Margaret court in the all-time list, but is the most successful in the Open era. 

Whilst the numbers are all very impressive, her most impressive victory had to have been that of the 2017 Australian Open where she beat her sister, Venus Williams 6-4, 6-4. Another win yes, but the fact that Serena did it whilst she was pregnant is almost mind-boggling, and highlights just how tough she is both physically and mentally. 

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