The build-up to the Australian Open has been front page news across the world over the last few weeks after the situation regarding the men’s number 1 ranked player in the world Novak Djokovic and his eventual deportation from Australia.

However, that controversy has overshadowed what could well be one of the most intriguing Australian Open tournaments, in both the women’s and men’s draws, for many years.

With the Serbian world number 1 now deported from Australia after his last gasp appeal failed, the men’s tournament has been blown wide open, while the women’s event will be another very open tournament with no single female player dominating the sport over the last few years.

Bet365 Sport are offering an excellent range of bets on the tournament including extensive Live In Play betting on each game as it is played, as well as a good choice of outright betting markets on both the men’s and women’s main draw.

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Let’s take a quick look at each draw now and give you the lowdown on some of the main contenders and their odds for both tournaments.

Australian Open – Women’s Tournament

  • Current Holder – Naomi Osaka
  • Most Australian Open Wins – 7 – Serena Williams & Margaret Court

At the last women’s Grand Slam tournament, the US Open, we saw one of the most remarkable victories in the history of tennis as British qualifier Emma Raducanu stunned the world by coming through qualifying and then not dropping a set on her way to a stunning and record-breaking first Grand Slam title.

The British youngster then went on to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award for her performance at Wimbledon and the US Open but she has perhaps struggled to match that level of performance in the tournaments she has played in since.

Home favourite Ashleigh Barty will start the tournament as the bookies favourite just ahead of defending champion Naomi Osaka, but as has been the case in women’s tennis for a considerable period of time now, there are probably 30-50 players in this draw who feel they stand a chance of success if they can find their best form.

As such the odds in the women’s draw offers a big spread and I will be honest, picking a winner from them has proven to be very tough over the last few years.

The likes of Garbine Muguruza, Iga Swiatek, Simona Halep, Victoria Azarenka, Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber are all past Grand Slam winners and they range in odds from 11/1 through to 50/1, which gives you a good idea of how open this tournament is.

There is an intriguing first round game between Sloane Stephens and Emma Raducanu to look forward to, while another British qualifier, Harriet Dart will face seventh seed Iga Swiatek in the first round tomorrow.

Women’s Tournament Betting

Barty and Osaka are the two female stars that have been backed well by punters with the Australian the top seed in the event ahead of the current holder. However, after that the odds tumble down gently from 11/1 to 100/1 with almost 30 players given odds up to 100/1 in the event.

Raducanu is 40/1 to repeat her US Open success but she has a tough draw with a first round game against Stephens followed by a possible third round game against Simona Halep and there could even be an all-British fourth round tie if Heather Watson reaches that stage of the competition in this section of the draw.

The women’s game has been so open in the last few years that it has become very dramatic and exciting and picking a winner has been extremely difficult so I’d probably go each way with my selection here and back Aryna Sabalenka, who is a 25/1 shot but is the second seed and who is due a very good Grand Slam event.

  • Tip – Back Aryna Sabalenka each way at 25/1

Australian Open – Men’s Tournament

  • Current Holder – Novak Djokovic
  • Most Australian Open Wins – 9 – Novak Djokovic

Last year, Novak Djokovic won his ninth Australian Open title with a 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Daniil Medvedev. It is easy to see why the Serb, who is tied on 20 career grand slam titles with both Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, was so desperate to defend his title this year.

However, his absence means that Salvatore Caruso got a late Lucky Loser spot in the First Round draw, where he lost to the Serbian Number 1s compatriot, Miomir Kecmanovic.

Looking at the draw, it does look like it is now a very open tournament in the men’s draw. Roger Federer is not in attendance at this event due to knee surgery and with Djokovic absent, only Rafa Nadal of the top three is competing in the event.

Dominic Thiem is another absentee through a wrist injury.

However, the hardcourt isn’t Nadal’s best surface and that means the likes of Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas will be feeling that they stand a great chance of picking up a Slam victory.

However, you cannot rule out the veteran British star Andy Murray, who has been a losing finalist at this event five times in the past, and who lost in the final of the Sydney Classic on the eve of the tournament.

Other British stars Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans are seeded, but Norrie has already been eliminated after a first round loss, and Dan Evans is yet to play his first round game against the tricky Belgian David Goffin.

Men’s Tournament Betting

As you would expect, a tournament that is missing the likes of Federer, Djokovic, Thiem, Raonic and Wawrinka amongst others has opened up the betting a great deal and now Daniil Medvedev, the current US Open Champion and losing finalist here last year, is the 7/5 favourite to go one better in 2022.

Alexander Zverev is 12/5 and Rafael Nadal is a 5/1 shot before the odds then lengthen considerably to the likes of Jannik Sinner at 18/1, Stefanos Tsitsipas at 20/1 and Matteo Berrettini and Carlos Alcara at 28/1.

There are some very intriguing longer odds options too including Denis Shapovalov and Gael Monfils who are both 66/1, Andy Murray is an 80/1 chance, while Nick Kyrgios and Marin Cilic are both 100/1 chances.

With the first round already underway, I that my money may well be going on Rafael Nadal here. The Spaniard has already breezed through his first round game and with his main rivals gone and a chance for himself to win a 21st career Grand Slam (a fact forgotten in the furore surrounding Novak Djokovic in the past week) I think Nadal has a great chance to take the lead in this particular race and land himself the first Slam title of the year.

  • Tip – Back Rafael Nadal at 5/1.
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