Which players are most deserving of winning their first Australian Open title?

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There are many great active players who have not won the Australian Open, most notably Andy Murray who has been in the final five times but has fallen short on every occasion. Unfortunately that won’t change as he has been forced to pull out of the 2018 edition as he continues to struggle with a hip injury. Therefore, this article will feature my Top 3 male and female picks for players who will be playing in this year’s Australian Open (which starts in just over a week!) that I feel most deserve to have an Australian Open title on their resume.

 The Women 

Venus Williams (World No.5) 

Best Australian Open performance: Runner-Up (2003 & 2017)
Australian Open Winning Percentage: 75%

One of the most surprising statistics about the career of Venus Williams is that she has never won the year’s opening Slam. The seven-time Grand Slam champion had an inspirational 2017, season showing little signs of slowing down despite her diagnosis with Sjogren’s syndrome in 2011–as well as being the 4th-oldest woman in the entire WTA Tour. Due to possessing the star quality that many of the current top players lack and her reliability in Grand Slams that was unparalleled last year, Venus would be very deserving an Australian Open title.
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Agnieszka Radwanska (World No.28) 
Best Australian Open performance: Semi-Finalist (2014 & 2016)
Australian Open Winning Percentage: 76%

As it stands, Radwanska will be known as one of the best players to never win a Grand Slam. She has proven that it is still possible to be successful without as much power as her competitors and provided us with hundreds of hot shots over the years. Due to her consistency at this tournament (reaching the quarter-finals or better on six occasions) and her popularity on tour (winning the WTA Fan Favourite Award every year from 2011-2016 inclusive), a maiden Slam title would not only be what Radwanska deserves but what the fans deserve.
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Jo Konta (World No.9) 

Best Australian Open performance: Semi-Finalist (2016)
Australian Open Winning Percentage: 82%

Konta has the highest winning percentage in Melbourne without winning the title amongst all active players, male or female. In the last two editions of the tournament, Konta has gained victories over Venus Williams, Ekaterina Makarova (twice) and Caroline Wozniacki–all current or former top-10 players. More impressive is that in these two years, it has taken the eventual champion to eliminate her from the tournament. The statistics don’t lie and in what many including myself consider Konta’s home Slam, a title in Melbourne would be very well-deserved for the Australian-born Hungarian who now represents Great Britain.
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 The Men 

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (World No.15) 

Best Australian Open performance: Runner-Up (2008)

Australian Open Winning Percentage: 77%

Tsonga will be the only player in the men’s draw this year that has reached the final but never won the title. Having only failed to reach the 2nd week on two out of ten occasions, the Australian Open is Tsonga’s best Slam. For the entertainment he has provided us with over the years, his consistency on the ATP World Tour (finishing in the Top 10 on six occasions) and his stellar Australian Open record, I don’t think anyone would claim that he doesn’t deserve an Australian Open title.
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Tomas Berdych (World No.20) 

Best Australian Open performance: Semi-Finalist (2014 & 2015)

Australian Open Winning Percentage: 74%

Berdych for me is a player with so much wasted potential. I think he had it all to be a multi-Slam champion during the peak of his career, excepthis mentality seemed content with being a regulation Top 10 player. Berdych has a superb record in Melbourne, reaching the quarter-finals or better between 2011-2016–and he has qualified for the ATP World Tour Finals on between 2010-2015. This consistency is surely worthy of a Major and an Australian Open would definitely suffice as it is his second-best Slam in terms of winning percentage.
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Milos Raonic (World No.24) 

Best Australian Open performance: Semi-Finalist (2016)

Australian Open Winning Percentage: 77%

Raonic is the only male player who has been to the quarterfinals in Melbourne for the last three years, and as a result is his best Slam in terms of winning percentage. Despite being injury-prone, Raonic has continued to be a relatively reliable player at the biggest tournaments. Having worked very hard to show that he isn’t just a one shot man like John Isner in recent years, a Slam title, especially to open the season, would be a fitting way to reward his efforts. Raonic missed the end of 2017 with injury, though, and his health to start the 2018 season isn’t guaranteed.
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So there you have it – these are my picks for who most deserves to win their first Australian Open based on their careers to date. With question marks over players on both the men’s and women’s side, this year’s opening Slam could be fascinating and one of the names in this article may even get their well-deserved title. Who do you think deserves to win their first Australian Open? Let me know in the comments section!

1 COMMENT

  1. Thank you for an interesting read. Would have liked to see Errani’s name on here – do you not think she’s deserving?

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