Another Australian Open is upon us, and it feels like it could be a more open tournament than ever before.
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will remain the strong favourites, as they always do, but there is a group of genuine contenders now emerging behind them.
Dominic Thiem is now a bona fide Grand Slam winner, Daniil Medvedev is in the form of his life, and Alexander Zverev finally looks like he’s maturing into the special player we always knew he could become.
Meanwhile, Andrey Rublev just keeps relentlessly hammering his way to wins, and Stefanos Tsitsipas continues to quietly improve too.
But just who do these emerging players need to emulate to make it onto the list of Australian Open greats? We take a look at the stats.
10. David Ferrer (41-16)
Spanish warhorse David Ferrer never won a Grand Slam in his career, and that always feels like a bit of a shame.
Like many in his generation, you can’t help but feel that had he not been playing at the same time as Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray, he almost certainly would have done.
He was a consistent if unspectacular performer in Melbourne, with his best performances coming in 2011 and 2013 when he reached the semi-finals. Andy Murray saw him off in 2011, and Novak Djokovic in 2013.
9. Pete Sampras (45-9)
It is always slightly surprising to see Sampras as low as ninth on any all-time list, but the Australian Open was never one of his best tournaments.
That said, he still won it twice, in 1994 and 1997, which is testament to the fact that Sampras’ okay was infinitely better than almost anyone else’s great.
He was still a force to be reckoned with Down Under, though, winning 45 of his 54 matches in Melbourne.
8. Tomas Berdych (47-16)
Czech ace Berdych is often overlooked when talking about top players in the modern era, and it’s always a little unfair.
Like Ferrer, he was ever able to win a Grand Slam, but in any other era he probably would have won at least a couple.
Also like Ferrer, he was a two-time Australian Open semi-finalist, with Andy Murray beating him in one of them. In the other, it was Stan Wawrinka who defeated him en-route to winning the tournament in 2014.
7. Andy Murray (48-13)
In all honesty, the only reason why Andy Murray is not a genuine Australian Open legend is Novak Djokovic.
Five of the Brit’s 13 defeats at Melbourne Park came in finals, four of them to Djokovic. The other, his first, it was Roger Federer who got the better of him.
Still, only four players in the history of the Australian Open have won more matches than Murray, and he will be hoping he can still add to his total next year.
6. Ivan Lendl (48-10)
A quarter of Lendl’s four Grand Slam singles titles came in Australia, so it’s no surprise to see him feature so prominently here.
In addition to his two Australian Open wins, he also lost in two finals. Indeed, half of Lendl’s 10 defeats in the tournament came in either the semi-final or final.
5. Andre Agassi (48-5)
If Andre Agassi reached an Australian Open final, he won it. That was the rule. You could argue he was fortunate to face Rainer Schuettler and Arnaud Clement in finals, but he also downed Pete Sampras and Yevgeny Kafelnikov too.
Agassi’s record in Australia of four titles is even more impressive when you factor in that he only actually played in nine tournaments.
There were two semi-final defeats in there, against Marat Safin in 2004 and Michael Chang in 1996, but he was an unquestioned giant of Australian Open tennis.
4. Stefan Edberg (56-10)
Edberg is always in these lists, which is testament to just how big a mark he made in tennis at the peak of his powers.
The Swedish star won two titles, although it should be mentioned that both came when the tournament was played on grass. He lost three finals on hardcourt, two of them to Jim Courier and one due to retiring hurt against Lendl.
Of his ten Australian Open defeats, six came at the semi-final stage or later.
3. Rafael Nadal (65-14)
Ask anyone, maybe even Rafa himself, and they will likely tell you the Australian Open is Rafael Nadal’s weakest Grand Slam. It’s the one he has won the fewest, with just one triumph there in 2009.
There are reasons for that. Nadal tends to take a little longer than most to get his body going after the off-season, and the humid conditions are not something he thrives in.
That said, only two men have won more Australian Open matches than Nadal in the entire Open era, which shows what a simply incredible athlete he is.
Perhaps surprisingly, though, only four of his 14 defeats have come against Federer, Djokovic, or Murray, which shows he can be vulnerable to a shock loss in Melbourne.
2. Novak Djokovic (75-8)
No player has won more Australian Open titles, so I very much doubt he will be even remotely bothered about being beaten into second on this list.
Djokovic also has time on his hands to reach the top spot too, although that depends on how long he wants to prolong his career for.
But let’s put this in perspective – Novak Djokovic has only lost as many matches at the Australian Open as he has WON the entire tournament. 16 tournaments so far, eight wins, eight defeats.
Every time he has reached the last four, he has gone on to win the whole tournament. His record in Melbourne is frankly imperious.
1. Roger Federer (102-15)
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Roger Federer is the only player to have won over 100 matches at the Australian Open. Indeed, no player has played more singles matches at Melbourne Park, with Federer amassing 21 appearances at the Australian Open.
This year, of course, he won’t have a chance to add to his total. He is absent from the line-up for the first time this century.
He is also a six-time winner, though, so his incredible statistics are not just rooted in his longevity, and he is certainly going to be missed.
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