Australian Open 2023 – Australia’s Top Hopes for the Men’s Event

Whenever a Grand Slam is played, you can be sure of plenty of home interest. Of course, this also applies to the 2023 Australian Open. In fact, this is probably even more true for the Australian Open, since the Aussies tend to be crazy about sport in general. On that note I wanted to pay a bit of attention to the homegrown players in the men’s event.

In recent times, Australia has become one of the top nations in tennis. They have a pool of insanely talented and successful players, many of whom are playing in Melbourne. Therefore, my goal here is to tell you about the top Australian players who are confirmed to be playing in the Australian Open 2023. 

2023 Australian Open Men's Singles 

2023 Australian Open – The Aussies Best Players to Watch

As mentioned above, Australia is one of the strongest nations at the moment for men’s tennis. In fact, there are five Australian guys ranked inside the top 100, which is pretty impressive, to say the least. Not only that but since this is a tournament played in Melbourne, there are several wild cards reserved for Australian players too. Therefore, the men’s draw will be loaded with Aussie interest.

However, not all of them have a realistic chance of doing much in the tournament. So rather than list them all, I’ve decided to pick out four guys who could be very interesting to watch in Melbourne, but at the end added a fifth player that defied all the odds and excited the locals with his displays and results:

Nick Kyrgios

This man doesn’t exactly need an introduction these days. Everyone knows about the talent of Nick Kyrgios, and sadly, everyone knows about his erratic temperament too. But facts are facts – he is probably the best Australian player at the moment, and he is currently ranked 22 in the world. 

Since Kyrgios made the finals of Wimbledon, backed up by a strong performance at the 2022 US Open, many believe he is a dark horse to take this title. That’s why the Aussie fans were devastated to hear that on the eve of the tournament Kyrgios had to withdraw with injury. Many believed they could see their men cause earthquakes this year in Australia and his withdrawal caused serious upset.

Alex de Minaur

While Nick Kyrgios is a player that just radiates talent, de Minaur is a player that screams commitment and work. He is one of the quickest guys on tour for starters, and he is a very clean striker of the ball. And at 24 in the rankings, de Minaur is also seeded, much like Kyrgios. 

He cruised 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 past the world number 209 qualifier Hsiou Hsu in round 1. De Minaur was never really tested in this match. He had to dig deeper in round 2 against the dangerous Mannarino, but with a lot of help from the stands eventually managed to win 3:1. The first 3 sets were very close and De Minaur was slightly lucky to take 2 of those.

De Minaur then faced another Frenchman, the world number 48 Bonzi, in round 3. In this match the first set proved decisive. Once De Minaur won the tiebreak without dropping a point he was unstoppable and allowed Bonzi a single game in the next 2 sets.

De Minaur lacks big weapons or powerful serve so his chances to actually keep the title in Oz are considered very slim. His outright market odds to win the trophy are 25/1 or 26.00. Still considering he started the tournament with odds in the 80s clearly his run into the second week of the competition has been noticed.

Unfortunately for all Australians the last-man standing as far as the home hopes are concerned had to face against the red-hot favourite for the title Novak Djokovic in round 4. De Minaur was never in contention in this very one-sided match and lost 2-6, 1-6, 2-6 to leave the tournament without Australian representatives from the quarterfinal point onward.

By reaching round 4 De Minaur equaled his best run in Australia, so he can’t be too disappointed. That said failing to even put up a decent fight in at least 1 set against Djokovic must have left him frustrated and with bitter feelings once his Melbourne adventure ended for at least 12 more months.

All-in-all De Minaur will move up the rankings and he is certainly looking forward to 2023 with hope. His next goal has to be to establish himself in the world top 20.

Thanasi Kokkinakis

Kokkinakis is currently just inside the world’s top 100, boasting a ranking of 93. However, in my personal opinion, I believe that he is still one of the most dangerous Australian players. He has the ability to get the crowd on his side, and he has a big serve which he backs up with a huge forehand when given the chance.

Kokkinakis broke the home fans’ hearts though as he exited the tournament in the most dramatic of fashions in round 2 when involved in the second longest match in Australian Open history – 5 hours and 45 minutes – that didn’t finish until 04am local time. After trashing Fognini 3:0 in the opening round and taking a 2-set lead against veteran Andy Murray in round 2 all seemed well for Kokkinakis. However, he somehow allowed a comeback and lost the match 2:3. Spirited and dedicated performance, but in the end painful finale for the home favourite.

John Millman

Last but not least, I had to mention John Millman. At 33 years of age, Millman is a veteran of the tour. He’s a guy that always gives it 100% in every match he plays, and he is a serious grinder. Given his ranking of 147 in the world, he has been given a wild card into the main draw! So I am excited about what Millman has to offer this year.

Millman already excited the fans with a thrilling 5-set win in round 1 against the world number 51 Huesler. Driven by the massive support from the stands from the so-called ‘Millmania’ the veteran came back from 0:1 and 1:2 down to eventually claim this dramatic win.

Millman is clearly having all the fun he could get in what might be his last ever Australian Open. However, in round 2 his run came to an end against the second favourite to win the title the world number 7 Daniil Medvedev. Millman put up a good fight in the first set of the match but still lost it 5-7. From that point on the veteran ran out of steam and lost the next 2 sets 2-6, 2-6 to leave the stadium under loud ovations, possibly for last time?

The Miracle-worker – Alexei Popyrin

The recipient of a wild card world number 113 is only the second Australian left in the men’s draw come round 3 after 2 dramatic 5-set wins. Popyrin’s brave style of play, lots of aces and winners, never-give-up attitude and general flamboyancy have made the Aussie faitfulls crazy about him.

In round 1 he came from 0:1 and 1:2 down to eventually claim a 5-set win against C. Tseng. This pumped the 23-year-old up to do pretty much the unthinkable in round 2 when in another even longer 5-set thriller he eliminated the number 8 seed Fritz. Popyrin saved a match point in this match and once again came from the brink to triumph. He already played 6 tiebreaks in these 2 matches and one thing his opponents found out was that when his serve goes in Popyrin is very hard to break. He hit 19 aces and 74 winners against Fritz.

In round 3 the new darling boy of the Aussie crowd had a major chance to go into week two but he ran out of steam against the American Shelton and lost 0:3. Popyrin put up a good fight in all 3 sets and simply overplayed some rallies in decisive moments, which was why he lost.

Popyrin is not done with the 2023 Australian Open though. He is heavily involved in the doubles tournament and we expect that his name will be associated with more upsets in that competition. Watch out for Popyrin in the future too as he tasted success and is clearly looking hungry for more.

2023 Australian Open – Final Review

As always there were mixed feelings regarding the Australian players and the mad fans that had lots of fun watching and supporting them. The hopes of the locals were dashed even before the tournament began when the big star of Australian Men tennis right now Nick Kyrgios had to pull out of the 2023 Australian Open injured.

Tough draws saw Millman and Kokkinakis leaving the tournament in round 2. The fan base got plenty of excitement from the world number 113 Popyrin though. He was given wildcard for the tournament and made the most of it. After 2 dramatic wins he eventually lost in round 3 in disappointing fashion against a player he could have beaten. Still he earned himself a great jump up the rankings and also won many new supporters with his spirited displays in the first 2 rounds.

As expected De Minaur was left the last Australian standing and he equaled his best ever Australian Open run by reaching round 4. However, there he met the unstoppable “King of Melbourne” Djokovic and this was the end of the road for him too.

All-in-all expected outcome as far as the home fans were concerned. Once Kyrgios pulled out not many expected to see an Australian still in contention when it comes to the quarterfinals.

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