Penpix of the top men's contenders at the Australian Open

  • Tennis
  • Friday, 17 Jan 2020

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - ATP Cup - Ken Rosewall Arena, Sydney, Australia - January 13, 2020 Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates winning the ATP Cup after winning his Final doubles match against Spain's Pablo Carreno-Busta and Feliciano Lopez REUTERS/Ciro De Luca

(Reuters) - Penpix of the top men's contenders at the 2020 Australian Open (Prefix denotes seeding):

2-Novak Djokovic (Serbia)

World ranking: 2

Born: May 22, 1987 (Age: 32)

Grand Slam titles: 16

ATP titles: 77

Best Australian Open performance: Winner (2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019)

The rubber-limbed Serb has dominated in Melbourne throughout the last decade and after his heroics at the ATP Cup, he begins a new one looking primed to claim a record-extending eighth title.

Djokovic's laser-like groundstrokes are at their most dangerous on Melbourne's fast hardcourts while his defensive skills drive opponents to distraction.

A mouthwatering potential semi-final with Roger Federer looms.

1-Rafael Nadal (Spain)

World ranking: 1

Born: June 3, 1986 (Age: 33)

Grand Slam titles: 19

ATP titles: 84

Best Australian Open performance: Winner (2009)

The Australian Open has not always been kind to Nadal and it is more than a decade since he won the trophy in memorable fashion against Roger Federer.

But he arrives this time apparently free of injury niggles and with the gas tank full.

Playing much more offensively in latter years, Nadal's action-man style will be tough to contain and it will take an inspired player to stop him if he stays fit.

3-Roger Federer (Switzerland)

World ranking: 3

Born: Aug. 8, 1981 (Age: 38)

Grand Slam titles: 20

ATP titles: 103

Best Australian Open performance: Winner (2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2017, 2018)

While Federer continues to wield a racket he can never be discounted. His age is against him, but his ability to conjure shots that other players can only dream of endures, as does his incredible athleticism and stamina.

The hunger remains too, and if he can play quick and smooth and avoid wasting energy in a kind-looking draw for the early rounds he will approach the second week believing he can win the title for the third time in four years.

4-Daniil Medvedev (Russia)

World ranking: 4

Born: Feb 11, 1996 (Age: 23)

Grand Slam titles: 0

ATP titles: 7

Medvedev has catapulted himself to the front of the queue for the most likely player to take a maiden Grand Slam this year. The occasionally volatile Russian has one of the best brains on Tour with remarkable composure under pressure and packing a punch with his serve and forehand.

Perhaps not a 10 out of 10 for style, Medvedev has an incredible ability to change his approach during matches, happy to serve and volley or go toe-to-toe in 30-stroke rallies.

Djokovic recently called him a "machine".

6-Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece)

World ranking: 6

Born: Aug 12, 1998 (Age: 21)

Grand Slam titles: 0

ATP titles: 4

The polar opposite to Medvedev in many ways. Tsitsipas does everything with panache and there are few more spectacular sights than the dashing Greek in full flow.

There is substance too. In winning the ATP Finals title, beating Federer in the semi-finals before downing Dominic Thiem, he showed he thrives on the big stage.

He will enjoy strong support in Melbourne from the large Greek community and if there was ever a 'home' Grand Slam for him it is this one. German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber could be a tough second-round hurdle though.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)

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