Djokovic loses final challenge
We finally have an answer to the Novak Djokovic saga. What seems like weeks on end of speculation as to whether he will be permitted to participate has finally been answered - he's now out of the tournament as his final legal challenge was thwarted.
Salvatore Caruso is the lucky loser who will take Djokovic's place against Miomir Kecmanovic in round one.
Djokovic's absence has unsurprisingly had an impact on the outright market. Daniil Medvedev is now into 2.8415/8 as favourite, with Alexander Zverev 4.216/5 and Rafa Nadal 7.413/2 also shortening following the confirmation that Djokovic will be unable to participate.
In the top half of the draw, both Nadal and Zverev now have much easier paths to the final.
Nadal and Zverev likely to win in routine fashion
Nadal and Zverev are both in action on day one which covers the entirety of the top half of the draw. Nadal is just 1.091/11 to get the better of Marcos Giron, while Alexander Zverev is a slightly shorter price against Daniel Altmaier. Essentially, these are two huge mismatches which is often the case when big names start their Grand Slam tournaments.
This is rather a theme for today, in all honesty, with many matches looking extremely one-sided and it would be a shock if a number of these matches featuring short-priced favourites weren't routine victories. Because of this, there doesn't really look like being an abundance of value on day one.
Bublik with edge over Escobedo
One match where the market suggests it will be competitive is the meeting between Alexander Bublik, who narrowly missed a seeding spot, and the lucky loser from America, Ernesto Escobedo. It's Bublik who is likely to settle at around the 1.804/5 favourite to make round two here.
I'm a little surprised to see this line because I have Bublik as the better player here by a reasonable margin.
Yes, he struggled last week against wild card Aleksandar Vukic in Adelaide but he's a fairly inconsistent type in general and I think the market has reacted to that, and also to Escobedo's win in the Bendigo Challenger several weeks ago.
It's worth noting, however, that the title for Escobedo in Bendigo was against pretty mediocre opposition - he was favourite in every match and didn't face a single opponent ranked inside the top 150. Escobedo's record towards the back end of 2021 was pretty uninspiring and I think this is going to be a big step up in class for the American, who lost in qualifiers as well to the veteran Mikhail Kukushkin here.
Korda versus Norrie looking likely to be a quality clash
Less from a pre-match betting perspective, several other matches catch the eye. British interest tomorrow will be on Cameron Norrie, with the British number one a 1.574/7 favourite against the very talented young American Sebastian Korda. Korda has now reached 40 in the world and a further breakthrough towards the top 20 should be his target for 2022.
Already Korda is nicely over the 100% combined service/return points won on hard court figure in the last 12 months, making him a better than average hard courter on tour, and while Norrie looks the deserved favourite here based on numbers, this will be a tough test for the Brit and looks one of the most competitive clashes in round one.
Opelka looking short for serve-orientated meeting
Finally, Reilly Opelka versus Kevin Anderson should be a big-serving clash where I'd expect few break points and at least several tiebreaks. Opelka is a strong 1.4840/85 favourite to get the win but I think this is a bit short based on the likely high variance nature of the encounter. A lot of Opelka's success in tournaments last year was due to winning a lot of tiebreaks, which is a pretty unsustainable method to achieve success. I don't see him improving his ranking much this year into the top 20 and mean-reversion is certainly possible.
Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings