2024 Australian Open underdogs – who can surprise the tennis world in Melbourne?

2024 Australian Open underdogs – who can surprise the tennis world in Melbourne?
Photo by Icon sport

There are some red-hot Australian Open underdogs who are skating under the radar ahead of the season’s first slam. If you’ve seen the recently published Australian Open draw, you may have a few individuals in mind when it comes to underdogs. However, if you haven’t, you will have several names in mind by the time we finish today.

Of course, by definition, an ‘underdog’ is a player who isn’t necessarily expected to do much at the 2024 Australian Open. But my objective today is to highlight players who could surprise us all with a deep draw run in Melbourne. And who knows – perhaps the Australian Open underdogs I highlight today will go on and win the title?

Sure, the chances of any underdog winning the Australian Open are slim, I know. Yet I will explain exactly why the underdogs mentioned here have at least an outside shot of making it deep into the second week – if not all the way to the trophy!

Anyway, I’m sure you’re ready to find out how these underdogs are and why they’ve been selected ahead of the 2024 Australian Open. So let’s get right into it.

Australian Open underdogs 2024 – my shortlisted players

Before I run through the underdogs for this year’s Australian Open, you ought to be aware of when it all kicks off in Melbourne. On that note, while the full Australian Open schedule has been detailed on a separate page, you should know that the first main draw matches will be played on Sunday, January 14th. 

Of course, this is the first day that my shortlisted underdogs might be in action. If not Sunday, they will all play their first-round matches within the first three days of the event – so do keep this in mind if you’d like to track the Australian Open underdogs mentioned here. 

As for who these underdogs are, let me reveal my shortlist now:

  • Grigor Dimitrov 
  • Alex de Minaur
  • Dominic Thiem
  • Elina Svitolina
  • Ajla Tomljanovic

As you can see, I’ve picked five players in total – three from the men’s singles draw, and two players from the women’s singles draw. Additionally, I should stress that each player has been picked through an assessment of different factors – all of which are explained in the following sections.

Men’s Australian Open underdogs – why they’ve been picked

The 2024 Australian Open is obviously very strong for the men this year, as you’d expect for a Grand Slam tournament. With all of the top dogs down to play, it will take a monumental effort to steal the title from guys like Djokovic, Alcaraz, Medvedev, Sinner, and others. 

However, I do believe that the three guys I’ve picked can do some damage in Melbourne. And as promised, I’d like to now explain why each of the three guys has been picked.

Grigor Dimitrov

I’ve always had great respect for Grigor Dimitrov, although deep down, I feel that he hasn’t lived up to the hype in his career. But in recent months, Dimitrov is starting to show signs that he could well steal the show in Melbourne. This all started with the way in which he finished the 2023 ATP season.

2024 Australian Open underdogs
Photo by Icon sport

In the last two Masters 1000 events of the 2023 season, Dimitrov made the semi-finals in Shanghai followed by the finals in Paris. Additionally, he has captured the one and only tournament that he’s played in 2024 – his first ATP title since 2017. 

So clearly, he is hitting top form at the right time, and he has a decent draw up until he is due to face Medvedev in the fourth round.

Alex de Minaur

There is no denying the fact that Alex de Minaur is one of the hardest workers on the ATP Tour. Then again, I’d expect nothing less with Lleyton Hewitt in his corner. But hard work is one thing – getting results is another.

On that note, the Aussie has certainly been getting the kind of results to justify his position as one of the top Australian Open underdogs for 2024. In fact, at the 2024 United Cup, de Minaur won three out of his four matches, with all wins coming against top 10 players. 

Of course, one of these wins was against Djokovic, which has, in turn, led to his top-10 breakthrough ahead of the Australian Open.

Dominic Thiem

People tend to forget the kind of tennis that Dominic Thiem is capable of producing. In fact, tennis fans often ignore the fact that this man is a Grand Slam champion, not to mention that he was one set away from winning the Australian Open in 2020. 

Furthermore, he has shown plenty of signs of his former self in 2023, and while he lost to Nadal in Brisbane, Thiem seemed sharp. So for me, he’s one of the main Australian Open underdogs to watch this year.

Women’s Australian Open underdogs – selection reasons

Now it’s time to look at the 2024 Australian Open underdogs for the WTA event. Interestingly, there are eight Australian Open wildcards and seven PR players in the main draw this year. So naturally, this alone creates a decent pool of potential underdogs. 

Australian Open underdogs 2024
Photo by Icon sport

As for my explanation of the two players chosen, I’ve detailed my reasons below.

Elina Svitolina

The comeback that Svitolina produced in 2023 after becoming a mother was just phenomenal. She made the quarters of the French Open and then the semis of Wimbledon, and she’s now ranked just outside of the top 20 thanks to such a strong season. 

Not only that, but Svitolina has made the quarter-finals of the Australian Open twice before, and she made the finals of the WTA 250 event in Auckland just last week. So for me, she’s one of the key Australian Open underdogs to watch in 2024.

Ajla Tomljanovic

Ajla Tomljanovic missed most of the 2023 season through injury, but she’s a serious threat to anyone in the Australian Open draw should she hit top form. She’s received a direct entry into the main draw this year thanks to her PR status too, yet she has a tricky opener to come against Petra Martic. 

However, if she gets beyond that match, I feel that the home support, along with the natural surge in confidence could make her dangerous.

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