AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2022: Djokovic seeded No. 1, chasing No. 21

Men to watch at the Australian Open, which begins Monday at Melbourne Park (Sunday in the U.S.):

NOVAK DJOKOVIC

Seeded: 1

Country: Serbia

Age: 34

2021 Record: 55-7

Career Record: 989-199

2021 Titles: 5

Career Titles: 86

Grand Slam Singles Titles: 20 — Australian Open (9: 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2020, 2021), French Open (2: 2016, 2021), Wimbledon (6: 2011, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019, 2021), U.S. Open (3: 2011, 2015, 2018)

Last 5 Australian Opens: 2021-Won Championship, 2020-W, 2019-W, 2018-Lost 4th Round, 2017-2nd

Aces: After legal saga over whether he could enter Australia despite being unvaccinated, had been allowed to stay as of Thursday night in Australia. … Will be seeking a 21st Grand Slam title to break the men’s record he currently shares with rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. … Also will be trying to win record-extending 10th Australian Open trophy and fourth in a row. … Went 27-1 at majors in 2021, coming within a loss in the U.S. Open final of becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win a calendar-year Grand Slam.

Matchup: Could face Nadal in the semifinals.

Words: “ … today I’m heading Down Under with an exemption permission. Let’s go 2022!” — Djokovic in a social media posting before he flew to Australia and was detained at the airport.

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DANIIL MEDVEDEV

Seeded: 2

Country: Russia

Age: 25

2021 Record: 63-13

Career Record: 225-100

2021 Titles: 4

Career Titles: 13

Grand Slam Singles Titles: 1 — U.S. Open (2021)

Last 5 Australian Opens: 2021-Runner-Up, 2020-4th, 2019-4th, 2018-2nd, 2017-1st

Aces: Won his first major championship at the U.S. Open in September, ending Djokovic’s bid for a true Grand Slam by beating him 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in the final. … Led ATP in wins in 2021 and became first man other than Djokovic, Federer, Nadal or Andy Murray to be ranked No. 1 or No. 2 since Lleyton Hewitt in 2005. … 12 of 13 career titles came on hard courts.

Matchup: Could face Nick Kyrgios in the second round.

Words: “He’s a very tactical player, in the sense (that) he baits you very well to go for a lot. He’s obviously a very good mover with very good end-range shots. I mean, to beat him you got to obviously be aggressive and take the net, but at the same time you don’t want to over-press.” — 34th-ranked Alex de Minaur.

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ALEXANDER ZVEREV

Seeded: 3

Country: Germany

Age: 24

2021 Record: 59-15

Career Record: 312-141

2021 Titles: 6

Career Titles: 19

Grand Slam Singles Titles: 0 — Best: RU, U.S. Open (2020)

Last 5 Australian Opens: 2021-QF, 2020-SF, 2019-4th, 2018-3rd, 2017-3rd

Aces: Has reached the semifinals at every Gran Slam tournament except Wimbledon. … Led the men’s tour in singles titles last season. … Won a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. … ATP announced in October it is investigating allegations of abuse brought by a former girlfriend of Zverev’s.

Matchup: Could face No. 30 seed Lloyd Harris in the third round, No. 14 Denis Shapovalov in the fourth.

Words: “I mean, look, I have my goals set. … I’m looking forward to this year, because I think it’s going to be a very interesting one.” — Zverev.

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STEFANOS TSITSIPAS

Seeded: 4

Country: Greece

Age: 23

2021 Match Record: 55-19

Career Record: 189-96

2021 Titles: 2

Career Titles: 7

Grand Slam Singles Titles: 0 — Best: RU, French Open (2021)

Last 5 Australian Opens: 2021-SF, 2020-3rd, 2019-SF, 2018-1st, 2017-Did Not Play

Aces: Grabbed a two-set lead against Djokovic in his first major final at last year’s French Open before losing in five. Was the youngest man to reach a Grand Slam title match in more than a decade. … Had surgery on his right elbow in November and says he is still trying to get his serve to operate properly.

Matchup: Could face No. 26 Grigor Dimitrov in the third round, No. 8 Casper Ruud in the quarterfinals.

Words: “Let’s see how tennis works out without the top three. I really want to see which players are going to prevail at this point.” — Tsitsipas, looking ahead to a tour without Djokovic, Federer or Nadal.

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RAFAEL NADAL

Seeded: 6

Country: Spain

Age: 35

2021 Record: 24-5

Career Record: 1,031-209

2021 Titles: 2

Career Titles: 89

Grand Slam Singles Titles: 20 — Australian Open (1: 2009), French Open (13: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020), Wimbledon (2: 2008, 2010), U.S. Open (4: 2010, 2013, 2017, 2019)

Last 5 Australian Opens: 2021-QF, 2020-QF, 2019-RU, 2018-QF, 2017-RU

Aces: Seeking men’s-record 21st Grand Slam singles title after tying Federer’s mark of 20 by winning a 13th trophy at Roland Garros in October 2020 (Djokovic caught them last year). … Played only two matches from June through the end of last season, sidelined by a painful left foot. Also tested positive for COVID-19 in December. … Returned to action with a tune-up title in January.

Matchup: Could face No. 28 seed Karen Khachanov in the third round, No. 10 Hubert Hurkacz in the fourth.

Words: “There have been some very challenging moments, and I have been working very hard, even in the very tough moments. … I am quite satisfied the way that I approached all these very challenging months in terms of attitude, in terms of positive spirit and in terms of passion to try to be back.” — Nadal.

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MATTEO BERRETTINI

Seeded: 7

Country: Italy

Age: 25

2021 Record: 41-12

Career Record: 113-65

2021 Titles: 2

Career Titles: 5

Grand Slam Singles Titles: 0 — Best: RU, Wimbledon (2021)

Last 5 Australian Opens: 2021-4th, 2020-2nd, 2019-1st, 2018-1st, 2017-DNP

Aces: Highest-ranked man from Italy since 1978. … All eight of his career ATP finals came on clay or grass courts — as did his lone major final, a loss to Djokovic at the All England Club last season — but he did reach a Grand Slam semifinal at the 2019 U.S. Open.

Matchup: Faces Brandon Nakashima of the U.S. in the first round, could face No. 31 seed Carlos Alcaraz in the third.

Words: “I know that I can win this title. I’m not sure if I’m going to do it, but I know I can do it. So that’s what I’m going to do in the next weeks, in the next months and years: try to lift the trophy.” — Berrettini after his loss to Djokovic at Wimbledon last July.

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FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME

Seeded: 9

Country: Canada

Age: 21

2021 Record: 38-24

Career Record: 103-78

2021 Titles: 0

Career Titles: 0

Grand Slam Titles: 0 — Best: SF, U.S. Open (2021)

Last 5 Australian Opens: 2021-4th, 2020-1st, 2019-DNP, 2018-DNP, 2017-DNP

Aces: Teamed with Denis Shapovalov to help Canada win the ATP Cup in Australia in January. … Smooth strokes and developing game helped him get to the quarterfinals and semifinals of majors last year; he’s appeared in a total of 10 majors. … Biggest blemish on his resume so far is going 0-8 in singles finals on tour, dropping all 16 sets.

Matchup: Could face Medvedev in the quarterfinals.

Words: “We have been believing and dreaming for a long time, pushing each other as well and I think we just elevate each other in a really positive and good way.” — Auger-Aliassime on his relationship and history with Shapovalov, dating to before they were 10 years old.

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