With qualifying out of the way for the first Grand Slam of the year – the Australian Open – we felt it was time to consult some of Canada’s most avid tennis enthusiasts and experts. Who will win the tournament? Which Canadian will perform best? Who is the event’s dark horse? And who will represent its Cinderella story?
Here to give their view – TVA Sports’ Marie-Eve Pelletier, Sportsnet’s Arash Madani and Caroline Cameron, as well as TSN’s Mark Masters and Mark Roe.
A trend seems to have formed regarding who they think will come away with the Aussie Open crown. Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams were picked by four of five experts to win the trophy in the men’s and women’s draws respectively.
Denis Shapovalov was the group’s unanimous pick for the Canadian they think will perform best. The 20-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ontario is coming off his first ATP title in Stockholm at the end of 2019 as well as some stellar performances at the inaugural ATP Cup earlier this year.
Two members of our panel picked Caroline Wozniacki as their Cinderella story for the tournament. Wozniacki, 29, announced in December that she will retire from the sport following the event, and Arash Madani and Mark Masters are tipping the Dane to go out on top by adding to her only other Grand Slam title – which, incidentally, also came in Australia in 2018.
As you can see, where the experts really disagreed with one another was on the “dark horse” question. From ten picks in total, only two were the same – Marie-Eve Pelletier and Mark Masters both selecting 20-year-old Czech Marketa Vondrousova, who was a finalist at the French Open in 2019.
We also asked the hosts of Match Point Canada, the Official Tennis Canada podcast, Ben Lewis and Mike McIntyre to give us their picks ahead of the Australian Open. Both tipped Djokovic to go all the way but Mike went for Williams in the women’s draw, whilst Ben has backed Naomi Osaka to add to her Grand Slam collection.
Once again, the pair agreed that Shapovalov will be the Canadian to shine brightest Down Under. There’s also a Canadian theme to Mike’s pick for “breakthrough player” with him choosing Vasek Pospisil. Ben, meanwhile, went for Stan Wawrinka.