Predictions for the 2018 Australian Open Men's Draw

Ahead of the first round of the Australian Open, I take a look at some of the likely winners on the men’s side. The forecast bodes well for the Big 3, with Novak Djokovic leading the race toward the first slam title of the 2019 season.

Novak Djokovic had one of the most incredible comebacks in tennis history when he reclaimed the World No. 1 position in 2018. That run is likely to continue as Djokovic takes the top win chance for the title with a nearly 1 in 4 change based on Game Insight Group (GIG) event win predictions.

These win predictions are based on GIG player Elo ratings, a rating system that tracks player strength from match to match, adjusting for opponent difficulty, surface, and tour absences due to injury.

The predictions also show that Federer, who is defending back-to-back AO titles, is the second most favoured player to win with an 18% chance being closely trailed by Nadal in the 3rd spot at 15%.

Kevin Anderson rounds out the top 4 with a 7% chance, nearly one third the chance of Djokovic, though Anderson could have recent confidence on his side as he is coming off a title win in Pune.

Andy Murray’s absence from the Top 10 contenders is notable. While many were hoping for 2019 to be a comeback story for Murray, his news conference ahead of Monday made it clear that his recovery from hip injury is an ongoing struggle. The prospect of 2019 being his last season puts a shadow over all that lies ahead. If there is anyone that beats the odds this year, I hope it is Andy.

Player Title Win Chance (%)
Novak Djokovic 24
Roger Federer 18
Rafael Nadal 15
Kevin Anderson 7
Kei Nishikori 7
Alexander Zverev 6
Daniil Medvedev 2
Dominic Thiem 2
Roberto Bautista Agut 2
Borna Coric 2

TRICKIEST QUARTER

Will the luck of the draw make a difference for the men this year? GIG examined the difficulty of each quarter by seeing how much the win chances of the top seed in each quarter would be helped or hindered by the quarter. How much would Nadal’s chances of reaching the semifinals would change if he had draw Djokovic’s quarter for example?

GIG’s analysis shows two quarters who stand out when it comes to the difficulty of the path they present for the top seed.

Djokovic’s quarter presents the greatest challenge, taking an average of 2 percentage points away from the top seeds forecast of a quarterfinal win.

Federer, on the other hand, got the luck of the draw as the third quarter of the draw does the most to increase the chances of a quarterfinal win, increasing those chances by over 2 percentage points on average.

Quarter Mean Change in Top Seed's Semifinal Chance
1 -1.9
2 -0.3
3 2.2
4 0.0

TOP NEXT GEN CONTENDERS

Stefanos Tsitsipas is the strongest contenders among the Next Gen, with Australia’s Alex De Minaur having the next best chance among the young phenoms of the draw. De Minaur will enter the main draw after bagging his first tour title in Sydney, which, if playing consecutive warm ups hasn’t been too taxing, might make his chances her too pessimistic. Still, with the Big 3 at the top of the contender table, it seems reasonable to put the chance of any Next Gen outside 1 in 100.

Player Title Win Chance (%)
Stefanos Tsitsipas 1.1
Alex de Minaur 0.3
Denis Shapovalov 0.2
Frances Tiafoe 0.1
Stephanie Kovalchik avatar
About Stephanie Kovalchik
Blog Founder, Senior Data Scientist at the Game Insight Group at Tennis Australia, and researcher at the Institute for Health and Sport at Victoria University.
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