Can anyone stop Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open? Both his current form and his past history Down Under suggest no one will be able to do so. Djokovic completely dominated the 2015 ATP World Tour campaign, winning three of the four majors and reaching the final in all four. In fact, the only occasion on which he failed to advance to a final was in the very first tournament of the season (lost to Ivo Karlovic in the Doha quarters). The world No. 1 won his last five tournaments, including the World Tour Finals in London after falling to Roger Federer during round-robin competition. Djokovic picked up right where he left off by getting the job this time around in Doha, trouncing Rafael Nadal in a lopsided title match.
The top-seeded Serb has won the Australian Open five times, including four in the last five years. His only loss since 2010 has come at the hands of Stan Wawrinka in a 2014 five-set quarterfinal marathon.
Djokovic will kick off his fortnight on Monday afternoon against Hyeon Chung. The Korean is a mere 19 years but he has already climbed to 51st in the rankings. Chung pocketed 12 ATP-level match wins in 2015 to go along with four Challenger titles and a pair of runner-up showings at the Challenger level. With such an impressive ranking, Chung will be able to play exclusively on the main tour in 2016. He did just that two weeks ago in Brisbane, where he scored an impressive win over Australia’s own Sam Groth before losing to Marin Cilic in two tight sets.
The problem for Chung–well, there are many problems for anyone who has to go up against Djokovic–is that he does not yet have the firepower with which to hurt such a heavily-favored opponent. The youngster is solid off both wings but does not possesses one huge weapon. There will be plenty of entertainment in this one, but the end result is certain to be straightforward.
Prediction: Djokovic in straight sets