Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, who have combined to win nine of the past 13 Australian Open titles, are set to lead the field at Australia’s Grand Slam championship in 2021.
Djokovic, the eight-time champion who has claimed back-to-back titles Down Under, tops the entry list as the No. 1 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings. The Serbian owns a 75-8 record at the season’s first major, where he is a perfect 8-0 in finals.
Nadal, the 2009 titlist, has found great consistency in Melbourne. The Spaniard has only lost before the quarter-finals once since 2005, and he has earned four runner-up finishes.
Two players to keep an eye on are World No. 3 Dominic Thiem and World No. 4 Daniil Medvedev. Thiem claimed his first Grand Slam title at this year’s US Open, and he had previously reached three major finals. The Austrian was close to a Slam breakthrough at the 2020 Australian Open, where he pushed Djokovic to a fifth set in the championship match.
Medvedev finished the season in peak form. The Russian lifted the biggest trophy of his career at the Nitto ATP Finals, where he became the first player to beat the top three players in the FedEx ATP Rankings at the season finale. Medvedev’s best run at a major came at the 2019 US Open, where he made the final.
Six-time champion Roger Federer is on the entry list. The Swiss star last competed at this year’s Australian Open due to a knee injury, which required two surgeries.
Ninety-eight of the Top 100 players in the FedEx ATP Rankings are entered in the first major of 2021, with all members of the Top 50 set to compete. The tournament will take place from 8-21 February due to COVID-19, but nonetheless Tournament Director Craig Tiley says organisers are ready to host another exciting event.
“We are looking forward to welcoming the world’s best players to Melbourne and what promises to be a spectacular Australian Open following a year of disruption on a scale none of us has ever experienced before,” Tiley said. “Although the AO will look a bit different to previous years, the safety of everyone is our top priority. We have the opportunity to stage a very safe, and happy Slam, and give the players the experience of competing in front of crowds again, something they’ve missed for most of this year.”
The tournament has awarded two of its main draw wild cards so far, with them going to Christopher O’Connell and Marc Polmans. Qualifying will be played from 10-13 January in Doha, before players and staff travel to Australia for a 14-day quarantine in accordance with local public health authorities.
The 2021 ATP Tour season begins on 6 January in Antalya and Delray Beach. After the Australian quarantine, the ATP Cup and two ATP 250s will all be played in Melbourne Park the week before the Australian Open.