Bookmakers backing Novak Djokovic for tenth Australian Open crown

One group of people who won't be caught underestimating Novak Djokovic are the bookmakers, who have largely offered short odds of the Serbian winning a tenth Australian Open.

Djokovic offers virtually no value to punters, but as a result, the slightly more than off-chance that he doesn't win a 22nd Grand Slam means there are enticing opportunities to back other strong contenders at great value.

On average, the odds of Djokovic winning are around 5/4, while World No 1 Carlos Alcaraz can be backed at 6/1 or thereabouts from multiple sportsbooks in the UK and internationally.

The 2022 finalists, Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev are also out at reasonably long odds at this stage.

Surprisingly there is also some support for the likes of Jannik Sinner among the early money going onto the Australian Open.

According to the rankings, Sinner comes in just ahead of Nick Kyrgios as effectively the fifth favourite to win the Australian Open.

On the edge of bold and reckless is the prospect of backing one of three young men who seem destined to win a Grand Slam at some point in the future.

Anyone backing Felix Auger Aliassime, Stefanos Tsitsipas or Holger Rune to go all the way will be rewarded with a stupendous return on their investment.

Djokovic finished the 2022 season in top form on the indoor hardcourt circuit. What's more, the two men considered his biggest rivals for the first major of the year, Nadal and Alcaraz, had injury problems in the last quarter of the season.

Djokovic has had his own brushes with injury and illness thanks to a niggling wrist strain and a mystery illness that left him floored, shaking and gasping for air at the Paris Masters.

However, it is Djokovic's record in Melbourne that makes the most compelling case for the Serbian achieving his very own Major La Decima.

He would be the first man in history to win ten Australian Open titles and only the second man to win a single Grand Slam ten times or more after Nadal, whose 14 French Open wins stand as the single Slam record.

Djokovic has won 82 of his 90 singles matches at the Australian Open, giving him the highest match-win percentage in Melbourne in the Open era.

Away from stats to intangibles, there is a feeling that Djokovic has some sort of point to prove about the validity of the 2022 tournament, from which he was absent.

Whether that is actually a factor in the thinking of Djokovic is irrelevant as the narrative is prevalent enough to influence bookies.

There are numerous good reasons that Novak Djokovic is the favourite for the Australian Open despite the likelihood that he will have to content himself with a fifth seeding for the tournament.

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