The first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open 2019 is all set to kick-start on Monday, January 14 in Melbourne, Australia.
Tennis fans across the world took an emotional hit with the news of Andy Murray's retirement plan during one of the pre-tournament press conferences. But that wouldn't let the excitement go as the Big Three once again stay favourites at the Melbourne Park.
Rafael Nadal, the 17-time Grand Slam Champion will play his first official match since the 2018 US Open semi-final loss against J. del Potro, where he had to retire. Seeded second in the draw, the King of Clay will play the local boy J. Duckworth in the First Round at Rod Laver Arena. He'll potentially face another Aussie in M. Ebden in the second round before he takes on the No. 1 Australian, Alex de Minaur in the third Round.
At 37, the Swiss maestro, Roger Federer will look to defend his title. The six-time Australian Open Champion has relatively easy first few rounds. He is in the same quarters as the last year's finalist, Marin Cilic. If everything goes according to the plan, then the 20-time Grand Slam winner will face Serbia's Novak Djokovic in the final.
Serbia's Novak Djokovic shares 12 Australian Open Singles Title (six each) with Roger Federer and is a clear favourite to win his seventh this time around. The top seed has made a remarkable comeback last year and went on to win the Wimbledon and the US Open with authority. He's surely the man to beat!
Such has been the story of all the Grand Slams from the past decade and a half and the 2019 Australian Open is no different. Alexander Zverev who went on to win the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals 2018, the biggest title of his career is seeded 4th and will look to make a statement in the Grand Slam.
Alex de Minaur, the local hero is in the same quarter as Nadal. The 19-year old, de Minaur just won his maiden ATP title at the Sydney International. The memories of his epic 3rd Round match against Marin Cilic at the US Open 2018 are still fresh and another epic of a 3rd Round battle is well on the cards as the young Australian might face Rafael Nadal in the 3rd round.
For India's perspective, the highest-ranked Indian, Prajnesh Gunneswaran will be the sole flag-bearer in Men's Singles category. He is appearing in the main draw for the first time in any Grand Slam and will face America's F. Tiafoe in the first round.
The 2019 Tata Open Maharashtra Doubles Winners Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan will play the Spanish pair of P. Carreno Busta and G. Garcia-Lopez in their first round clash.