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The stats behind the young trio aiming to end Djokovic's reign

  • Patric Ridge

Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz’s budding rivalry is set to continue at Australian Open 2024, but the duo are not the only players out to make history in Melbourne.

Alcaraz missed this Grand Slam event in 2023, but that did not stop the Spaniard going onto enjoy another brilliant season as his star continued to rise in remarkable fashion.

MORE: AO 2024 men's singles draw

Yet the world No.2 is not the only new kid on the block who will be hoping to contend against reigning champion Djokovic in, remarkably, the first Australian Open not to feature either Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer since 1999.

Djokovic is still the king of Melbourne, but the young guns are circling

Along with Alcaraz, Holger Rune and Jannik Sinner – who Djokovic beat to win the ATP Finals – headline the next generation.

MORE: Novak by the numbers: Here’s what Djokovic is chasing at AO24

Djokovic is still at the summit, though. He won three of the four majors last year, with only Alcaraz’s victory at Wimbledon preventing the Serbian from clinching the calendar Grand Slam.

Should Alcaraz claim a third major title, he will become just the fourth man to win three majors before turning 21. His compatriot Nadal was the last player to achieve the feat (after Mats Wilander and Bjorn Borg).

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He would also be the fourth man under 21 to win the AO, after Wilander, Stefan Edberg and Djokovic – not bad company to be keeping.

Alcaraz’s budding rivalry with Djokovic is already proving to be quite the thriller. The pair have met five times – all in semifinals or finals – with the veteran leading 3-2.

Alcaraz has already beaten Djokovic on the game's biggest stages

Alcaraz has a superb Grand Slam match win-loss record of 41-9 and might be the face of the next generation, yet world No.4 Sinner could well be competing at the very top for years to come, too.

Both young guns are seeded in the top five; this is the first time at least two players under 23 have been top-five seeds in the AO men’s singles since 2010, when it was Djokovic, Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro.

MORE: Five key takeaways from the AO 2024 men’s draw

Sinner lost to Djokovic in Turin in November, but had previously beaten him in the group stage. Should he beat the defending AO champion, he will become only the third player to claim four or more wins from his opening six matches against a current world No.1, after Nadal and Murray.

Sinner and Djokovic could meet in the semifinals.

Rune, meanwhile, is aiming to become the first Scandinavian to reach a major semifinal or final before turning 21 since Edberg, who won AO 1987.

The 20-year-old lost to Grigor Dimitrov in the final of the Brisbane International, and the duo could meet again in the quarterfinals here. And should Rune face Alcaraz in the semifinals, it will be the first time in the Open Era where two players under 21 reach the semifinal at consecutive Grand Slam tournaments, after Alcaraz and Ben Shelton made that stage of the US Open.

Outside of the Alcaraz/Sinner/Rune trio, world No.3 Daniil Medvedev should not be discounted, while Alex de Minaur is flying the flag for his home nation after cracking the top 10 of the world rankings.

MORE: De Minaur: "I love proving people wrong"

Should Medvedev reach the final, the two-time AO finalist will hold a win rate of at least 80 per cent on hard courts at Grand Slam events. If that eventuates, he would also have reached successive major finals, the only player outside the “Big Three”, apart from Murray, to do this since Nadal’s 2005 Roland Garros triumph.

Djokovic is again the man to beat, but it looks like we have a thrilling fortnight in store.