Rod Laver Arena at the Australian Open -0 Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

Defending champion Rafael Nadal crashed out of the Australian Open to an unheralded American on Wednesday, leaving the path clear for a new champion in Melbourne.

Nadal’s wife was left in tears courtside as the 22-times grand slam champion and winner in Melbourne last year, lost in straight sets to Mackenzie McDonald, an unseeded American ranked 65th in the world.

McDonald won 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 to blow the men’s singles draw wide open.

Here, we take a look at the contenders:

Novak Djokovic

The contentious ‘GOAT’ of the sport, Djokovic is only a grand slam shy of Nadal’s count of 22.

Seeded fourth for the tournament, there should be no quarrel that Djokovic entered expecting to be a finalist, and is favourite for the tournament with Nadal’s exit.

Cameron Norrie

The British number one, Cameron Norrie is seeded 11th for the Australian Open and has reached the semi-final and fourth round of the last two grand slams.

An outside shot but Norrie’s steep rise to stardom over the last two years could be topped with aa grand slam victory.

Jannik Sinner

Seeded 15th for the open, Jannik Sinner is a strong contender for a tournament run with an added boost from Nadal’s exit.

Games and sets in his loss to Djokovic at Wimbledon 2022 showed how exceptional this young players ability is.

A star on the rise, Sinner could burst into mainstream news with victory in Australia.

Daniil Medvedev

A finalist in Australia in both 2021 and 2022, fiery Medvedev will be looking to take the extra step in 2023, a singular grand slam to his name at the US open in 2021 proves his championship pedigree, a step many good players do not make.

Casper Ruud

24 year old Norwegian Ruud, is ranked number three in the world and seed number two for the Australian Open.

After Nadal’s exit he is the seeded favourite and he has nine titles over the last three years, but is yet to make the step up to a grand slam victory.

He placed second in the US and French Opens last year and so will be making the push to cross the finish line this year.