After a fantastic 2016, especially because of the induction of Sir Andy Murray on the throne of the ATP, the circuit finds it’s champion in Australia, for the first Grand Slam of the season, that takes place from January 16th to 29th. A tournament that marks the return of King Federer, almost 6 months after his last appearance. Recently relegated to the rank of world number 2, Novak Djokovic, who collected 5 of the last 6 trophies in Melbourne, will be eager to get another as we all know he is not a fan of defeat. A feeling that no longer seemed to inhabit him after his first triumph at Roland Garros. Add to that a sharpened Rafa Nadal, ready for revenge, to the dream cast and we can be sure an interesting competition awaits us. Before placing a bet on the overall winner, let’s look at the contenders.
Eight months ago, Andy Murray could still be characterized as a great player destined to make an appearance in the hall of fame of tennis in this talented era of the Naughties. But with hard work and sheer determination, the Scotsman has made that dream a reality, sooner than expected. With improved commitment and concentration and his ever increasing ability, the new world number one continues to silence his doubters. Above all, he demands respect due to his status, but also his ability to break top players. With 21 victories in 24 games played against top 10 players in 2016, 88% of success, the Briton has it all worked out.
Still no title in Melbourne, where he lost out in the final five different times, Andy Murray does not envisage a scenario in which he leaves Melbourne without a title in his possesion. It remains to be seen how Andy will negotiate his first big tournament as world number 1. Despite the few questions surrounding the start of the season, the big gun of the circuit remains on 25 consecutive win streak and has gathered enough confidence to be able to win and collect the title of the Australian Open.
He is the reigning champion in Australia. Often challenged and rarely beaten, the Serb has failed only once in the last six years in his conquest of the first major tournament of the season. It was against Stan Wawrinka, in the semi-finals of the 2014 edition. The double title holder, the Djoker, well rested, has his sights set on nothing less than victory, especially on this surface. A very fast surface, known as Plexicushion, that he seems to have tamed!
The Serbian has shown his hand slightly when he took his playing to a new level when he finally got to kiss the Musketeers' Cup in Paris last June. Nole has benefited from his family in recent months and is ready to return to beast mode in the first competition of the season. He is, with Murray, the other main favourite. The top 2 world ranked tennis players will only be able to meet in the final.increase your winnings with odds of 11/8 for Djokovic to win the title at Melbourne
His talent is matched only by his love of tennis. Dramatic and meticulous with his style, the Switzerland native has never missed this Grand Slam tournament since it began in Melbourne in 2000. Injured for six months, the father of four took advantage of this imposed leave to spend time with family, without forgetting to recover while in the Swiss mountains. But while he was watching the real outbreak of Murray in the eyes of a spectator, Roger Federer never showed any doubt about his return to the court. Six months of absence seems to have had the effect of a makeover for the greatest player of all time. It wasn’t until the Hopman Cup, "friendly" competition in which Federer fully showed what he could do. A king never backs down from a fight. From the peak of his 35 years and with a status of 16th titles, Federer still has battles to win. Semi-finalist in 2016 and already titled four times on the Rod Laver, he is anything but an outsider!Federer to win the title at Melbourne proposed at 16!
Here is another legend of the sport making a return. Injured for part of the season in 2016, "El Toro" took the time to win two titles, including the Monte Carlo Masters. Too physically inconsistent for two years to beat the best, the Spaniard has worked hard, and begins to regain all his magical tendencies. Rafa, who has not seen the final 4 of a Grand Slam tournament since his final loss at the Australian Open. That occured two years ago, and this year he intends to strike a great blow. Ever conquering and finally in perfect health once again, the Spaniard ( 12) is to be taken very seriously.
Tennis is also beautiful because it offers a chance to players likes these, to play the leading roles in competition. This was the case of Wawrinka, who was long regarded as a very good player, before discovering himself as contender recently. Winner in Australia two years ago, the Swissman gained confidence winning Roland-Garros in 2015 and then the US Open 2016. Stan The Man is offered at odds of 12
His executioner of last year is the other great danger. Milos has not yet made his dream of winning one of the four major trophies of the circuit reality but was within reach in 2016, the year that marked his first final on the lawns of Wimbledon. Djokovic beat the Canadian but still progressed well in his approach to these competitions, and proved it again at the London Masters. He approaches the season with a status of third world and some huge ambitions.
The first real outsider is Kei Nishikori. He should not be forgotten. Although he showed a lot of signs of mental fatigue and fragility before some of the best and biggest events, the Japanese, quick as lightning, is always likely to get out of his box. In front of his audience, the fantastic Nick Kyrgios is also capable of silencing the critics. Always sure of his strength, the Aussie gives the impression of being able to dominate anyone. The five best French players (Gaël Monfils, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Richard Gasquet, Lucas Pouille, Gilles Simon) are also capable of beating the best, as well as Berdych, the eternal outsider, or youngsters Dominic Thiem and Sascha Zverev. If Murray is somehow eliminated, the title could go to any one of these talented guys!
The women's tournament looks as exciting as the men's. It will pit the eternal Serena Williams, who is trying to reach the record number of titles in Grand Slams, which is still held by Steffi Graff (22). Embarrassed in 2016, the American has had time to rest and intends to take her revenge on Kerber, who beat her here in 2016. Title holder and new patroness of the WTA circuit, the German will want to remain number 1 by making it 2 in 2 years in Australia.
As well as this duo of favourites, we find the powerful Garbine Muguruza, who proved that she’s not to be taken for granted by winning Roland Garros. Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova and Agnieszka Radwanska are also capable of surprising in this competition. Among these, we can expect a lot from Caroline Garcia. The Frenchwoman has realized her full potential in the final of the Fed Cup and does not seem very far off the the rest. She has odds of 80, it would be a shame not to try. With absences from Azarenka (maternity) and Kvitova (injury), this women's tournament still promises to be a great one.
Womens Tournament, the main odds
Article "Australian Open 2017" updated in 23/03/2017
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