Novak Djokovic is hoping to make 2019 the year he convincingly distances himself from the rest of the elite. After battling injuries, the 31-year-old emerged as the best player in the world in 2018, closing out the season with wins at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and taking the top ranking.

Djokovic was impressive in the final months of 2018. He finished the year with 9,045 points, which is 1,565 points more than the No. 2 position.

When the Australian Open gets underway on Jan. 14 in Melbourne, Djokovic will be the clear favorite.

Bet365 currently gives Djokovic 5/4 odds of winning the tournament. The Serbian star has won the Australian Open six times and will look to rebound after being eliminated in the second round in 2017 and the fourth round in 2018.

Standing in Djokovic's way are Rafael Nadal and back-to-back defending champion Roger Federer. The two superstar players have nearly identical odds, with Federer listed slightly better at 5/1, while Nadal is listed at 11/2 odds.

Aside from a third-round exit in 2015, Federer has at least reached the semifinals every year since 2004. The Swiss legend has won the Australian Open six times and has been the runner-up once and has been eliminated in the semifinals seven times.

While Djokovic can expect another strong run from Federer, Nadal also promises to be a worthy challenger. Though the Spaniard has only won the tournament once, he has been a runner-up three times and has exited in the semifinals once.

Will a dark horse emerge? There are some notable names expected to be in the hunt.

German rising star Alexander Zverev has yet to break out, having never advanced to the semifinals of any Grand Slam. But the world No. 4 is just 21 years old and could finally be in position to make a serious run. In 2018, Zverev was eliminated in the third round. However, oddsmakers list him at 9/1 odds in 2019.

Juan Martin del Potro is ranked No.5 and has the fifth-best odds (20/1) in Melbourne. But the 30-year-old Argentine has just two appearances in the quarterfinals at the Australian Open.

Perhaps Marin Cilic could pose a threat to Djokovic. Cilic, who is listed at 22/1 odds, is coming off a final appearance at the Australian Open. The Croatian also reached the semifinals in 2010 but has won just two matches against Djokovic in 19 matches.

GettyImages-177593731 (2)
Novak Djokovic of Serbia, Rafael Nadal of Spain and Roger Federer of Switzerland on stage during the ATP Heritage Celebration at The Waldorf-Astoria in August 2013 in New York City. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images