AAP Tennis

Leading Australian Open men’s contenders

By AAP Newswire

HOW THE LEADING MEN'S CONTENDERS AND AUSSIE HOPES SHAPE UP FOR THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN STARTING ON MONDAY

NOVAK DJOKOVIC (SRB)

Age: 31

Ranking: 1

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US125,847,879 ($A174.62 million)

Career titles: 72

Grand slam titles: 14 (Australian Open 2008, 2011-2013, 2015-16; French Open 2016; Wimbledon 2011, 2014, 2015, 2018; US Open 2011, 2015, 2018)

Australian Open win-loss record: 61-8

Best Australian Open results: champion 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016

The resurgent Serb is halfway through completing his second non-calendar-year grand slam sweep and few would back against him taking the third step at his happiest major hunting ground.

RAFAEL NADAL (ESP)

Age: 32

Ranking: 2

Plays: left-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US103,251,975 ($A143.27 million)

Career titles: 80

Grand slam titles: 17 (Australian Open 2009; French Open 2005-08, 2010-14, 2017-18; Wimbledon 2008, 2010; US Open 2010, 2013, 2017)

Australian Open win-loss record: 55-12

Best Australian Open result: champion 2009

It's now a decade since the great Spaniard celebrated his lone title triumph in Melbourne and time is slipping away for the 32-year-old to join Rod Laver and Roy Emerson as the only men to have won all four grand slam singles crowns at least twice.

ROGER FEDERER (SUI)

Age: 37

Ranking: 3

Plays: right-handed

Career prize money: $US120,514,916 ($A167.22 million)

Career titles: 99

Grand slam titles: 20 (Australian Open 2004, 2006-07, 2010, 2017-18; French Open 2009; Wimbledon 2003-07, 2009, 2012, 2017; US Open 2004-2008)

Australian Open win-loss record: 94-13

Best Australian Open results: champion 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2017, 2018

Like Djokovic, the mighty Swiss is chasing an unprecedented seventh men's singles crown at Melbourne Park while an Open hat-trick would also take Federer's career title tally to a magical No.100.

ALEXANDER ZVEREV (GER)

Age: 21

Ranking: 4

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US15,747,928 ($A21.85 million)

Career titles: 10

Grand slam titles: 0

Australian Open win-loss record: 4-3

Best Australian Open results: third round 2017, 2018

The 2018 season-ending championship winner is under an injury cloud and continues to disappoint at the slams but it seems only a matter of time before the young German breaks through on one of the sport's biggest stages.

KEVIN ANDERSON (RSA)

Age: 32

Ranking: 6

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US15,823,923 ($A21.96 million)

Career titles: 6

Grand slam titles: 0

Australian Open win-loss record: 11-10

Best Australian Open results: fourth round 2013, 2014, 2015

With runs to the final in New York and Wimbledon in the past 18 months, the South African has emerged as a bona fide grand slam contender but has yet to really make his mark in Melbourne.

MARIN CILIC (CRO)

Age: 30

Ranking: 7

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US26,106,425 ($A36.22 million)

Career titles: 18

Grand slam titles: 1 (US Open 2014)

Australian Open win-loss record: 26-10

Best Australian Open result: finalist 2018

Runner-up to Federer last year, the big-hitting former US Open champion is proving a perennial grand slam force and could sneak off with the title if the big dogs falter.

BEST OUTSIDER

KEI NISHIKORI (JPN)

Age: 29

Ranking: 9

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US21,765,766 ($A30.2 million)

Career titles: 12

Grand slam titles: 0

Australian Open win-loss record: 23-8

Best Australian Open results: quarter-finalist 2012, 2015, 2016

After a wretched run with injury, the Japanese trailblazer has regained his place in the world's top 10 with a big 2018 including a US Open semi-final showing before opening this season with title success in Brisbane.

BEST AUSTRALIAN HOPES

ALEX DE MINAUR

Age: 19

Ranking: 30

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US1,594,331 ($A2.21 million)

Career titles: 1

Grand slam titles: 0

Australian Open win-loss record: 1-2

Best Australian Open result: second round 2017

Seeded for the first time at a slam, the ATP's 2018 Newcomer of the Year has started the new season on fire with a maiden ATP title in Sydney after reaching two finals and surging from outside the top 200 last year.

NICK KYRGIOS

Age: 23

Ranking: 52

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US6,627,174 ($A9.2 million)

Career titles: 4

Grand slam titles: 0

Australian Open win-loss record: 11-5

Best Australian Open results: quarter-finalist 2015

The underdone and under-achieving super-talent hasn't made the last eight at a slam in four years and has a brutal draw after being seeded at a major for the first time since the 2015 US Open.