Roger Federer will start his defence of the Australian Open men's singles title when 2019's first grand slam begins next week.
The Swiss great continued his remarkable renaissance by retaining the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup with victory over Marin Cilic in the final.
He now heads to Melbourne Park with a treble in his sights, the 20-time grand slam champion aiming to achieve a feat only Novak Djokovic has pulled off since the start of the Open Era.
A resurgent Djokovic will do his best to ensure that does not happen and goes into the opening slam of the year as the favourite.
Here, with the help of Opta, we break down the best facts surrounding what looks poised to be a fascinating men's singles competition.
Federer out to replicate Djokovic hat-trick
- Federer won his sixth Australian Open title in 2018, 14 years after his first win at the event; no player has won multiple Australian Open titles over a longer period in the Open Era.
- Federer and Djokovic share a piece of tournament history. They have both won the Australian Open six times, the most of any male player since the start of the Open Era in 1968.
- Federer has won the last two Australian Opens; Novak Djokovic between 2011 and 2013 is the only male player to have won the tournament three times in a row.
- Last year Federer won his 20th Grand Slam singles title, the first male player to reach that mark; Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam tournament he has won more often (8 times) than the Australian Open (6).
- The odds are heavily stacked in favour of Federer being in the last four. He has reached at least the semi-final stage in 14 of the last editions of the event.
Djokovic's last-eight drought
- Djokovic looks back to his best having won Wimbledon and the US Open. However, he failed to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in 2017 and 2018, having won five of the previous six titles.
- The Serbian's victories at the All England Club and Flushing Meadows give him the chance to win a third slam in a row in Melbourne. He hasn't won three major tournaments in a row since his four consecutive wins between 2015 and 2016.
Nadal & Murray's Melbourne misery
- Either Rafael Nadal or Andy Murray has been the runner-up in eight of the last nine Australian Open men's finals, Murray losing five times and Nadal three times. Only Cilic in 2018 has also lost an Australian Open final in that span.
- Murray's five defeats in the Melbourne showpiece (2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016) are more than any other player in the Open Era.
- Nadal will aim to maintain a remarkable run for Spanish players in Melbourne, with 2006 the last Australian Open in which there was not Spanish representation in the men's singles quarter-finals.
Cilic's consistent 2018
23. Januar 2019
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