Novak Djokovic (1/1 Bet365) has made the Australian Open his own in recent years. He is the 3 time defending champion in Melbourne and will be very difficult to defeat. His only warm up to the Grand Slam was winning the Abu Dhabi exhibition event, but will be fresh and looking to defend his title in order to maintain the hunt of the world number one spot. Novak dominated the latter part of 2013 and with the help of Boris Becker will look to dominate the start of 2014, that is at least until the clay court season!
Current world number one Rafa Nadal (9/4 Bet365) lost to David Ferrer in Abu Dhabi but came back to win his first title of the 2014 season in Doha and will surely give a good account of himself in Melbourne. He has only won the title once back in 2009 and in fact only reached the final on one other occasion, so his price maybe a little too short this year…..
David Ferrer (50/1 Bet365) will give his best as always. He has done well in the past and although ranked world number 3 I think the Spaniard will only be a semi-finalist at best this year. Clay is still his best chance of a major, though Nadal continues to stand in his way. Losing a set to Donald Young this week hardly gives punters confidence.
Andy Murray (6/1 Bet365) has been a finalist in Melbourne for 3 of the last 4 years. He loves it there! The Wimbledon and Olympic champion is now more mentally secure in his approach to Grand Slams and if fit he really has a good chance of winning! Fitness though is his main concern. Out for a long while whist he had surgery on his back, Murray made his comeback in Abu Dhabi losing to Tsonga before losing to Florian Mayer in Doha. Matches is what Murray needs and if he can play himself into form in Australia then his price of could be very good value.
Roger Federer (16/1 Bet365) will be working with fellow tennis legend Stefan Edberg in Melbourne, the start of a 10 week programme. What will Edberg bring to his game? Hopefully some extr motivation and consistency! Federer looked good in Brisbane last week, until the final where Hewitt caused a big shock and Roger didn’t play his best. Never dismiss the 4 time champion though and at a massive price still could be worth a punt.
Juan Martin Del Potro (10/1 Bet365) had a solid 2013 without troubling the top 3 rankings. His best result in Australia is a couple of quarter-final performances and reaching the later stages in Grand Slams is what will really propel Juan to threaten those top 2 places in the ATP rankings. His 2009 US Open win shows he is capable, but this result is now starting to look further away in history. I am not sure 2014 will be his year either.
Tomas Berdych (50/1 Bet365) is capable of defeating any of the top players on his day, but over 5 sets he will probably find it too tough in Melbourne. He has reached the QFs the last three appearances though and will probably make it 4 in a row, though one of the top 4 seeds is likely to be too good!
2008 finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (40/1 Bet365) needs to be ultra consistent on serve if he is to stand any chance of causing upsets but to win the title he is likely to have to play the top seeds from the QF stage and can see him upsetting the top guys in successive matches. The Australian Open is Tsonga’s most successful Grand Slam event and expect a good showing again from the likeable Frenchman especially if any of the top 4 players are not in form early season.
Stan Wawrinka (40/1 Bet365) won in Chennai last week and if he can reproduce some of his 2013 season form could be in with a chance. But Stan needs to toughen up mentally and believe he can win against the big boys! I am still not sure his inner confidence is there, especially over 5 sets. I can’t see him threatening, especially while still under the shadow of his Swiss compatriot Federer.
Grigor Dimitrov (100/1 Bet365) and Gael Monfils (100/1 Bet365) would be very popular winners of the title and would get huge support from the crowds in Melbourne. They would be my choices for a high priced good runs, though experience for Grigor and fitness for Monfils would be enough to look at others.
In Summary any player outside of Nadal and Djokovic offers very good value for punters looking for an outright Winner in Melbourne. If Andy Murray can prove his fitness then I think he can win and never discount Federer at great prices at this time in his career! As ever the actual ‘luck of the draw’ will be very important to the chances of all the players! Lets see what happens!