Australian Open Men’s Singles Preview and Tournament Predictions12th January 2018 / Julian
The first big tennis tournament of the year rolls into view on Monday with the Australian Open.
This year the men’s game is without Andy Murray, thanks to hip surgery which he hopes will see him return to competing for trophies on the world circuit. Speculation remains rife that the Scot will never again be able to compete at a high enough level to win another Slam, but in any case, the game will have to do without him for now. British fans may wish to see him back as soon as possible, but gambling is a pastime where sentimentality has little room, so attention must quickly turn to Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
The big question before the tournament is exactly who among them would be favourite and how heavily each would be fancied. Of course, the conversation should never miss out Novak Djokovic, a man who has had his own injury problems of late.
The elbow injury which the Serb has been battling for a considerable time has seen him fall to 14th in the tour rankings, but if he can get himself in shape and find his form once more then he has all the weapons to go all the way.
Of the rest, Grigor Dimitrov and Alexander Zverev Jr. promise to be two of the more interesting threats, with the young Zverev at only 20 years of age being the youngest player within the top 30.
At 36 years old, Federer seems to have found the fountain of youth. In a time of tennis greats the answer for some has been to push themselves even harder to achieve success. Federer seems to take the opposite approach, relying on skill and technique and a playing style which at times looks effortless. That said, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to look that effortless, and no one should doubt Federer’s physical capabilities. While the competition seems to be pushing themselves to the breaking point, Federer continues onwards seemingly unfazed. William Hill has the seasoned pro at 13/8 to take the first Slam of the year.
Although Roger is the firm favourite going into the competition it is actually Rafa who has more points on the tour. That said, Roger has a tendency to play less than other players, so it is wise to be cautious when using points alone as a yardstick. If Federer makes winning look easy, then Rafa exerts a kind of effort and physicality that is frightening in its execution and more often than not deadly for his opponents. As Andy Murray prepares to make his way back to the professional circuit, he should take lessons and warnings from the Spaniard in equal measure. Nadal is currently playing some fantastic tennis, but admits he is in pain almost every day due to the stresses he puts on his body. The warrior is priced at 5/1.
To look at the prices on offer you wouldn’t think that Djokovic was currently ranked at 14th in the circuit. The battling baseliner is another player with injury woes in a sport which seems to have engaged in a war of physical proliferation. With so many top players battling fitness problems, it does beg questions of the ruling body and what exactly is going on in the sport. For his part Djokovic hasn’t played in a competitive game since Wimbledon, and it would be a shock indeed if the Serbian could go all the way down under. William Hill have Djokovic priced at a seemingly optimistic 5/1. A comeback that saw him win the tournament would surely have to be one of the sport’s greatest.
Grigor Dimitrov is the most successful Bulgarian tennis player of all time, currently enjoying a career rankings high of world number 3. Dimitrov has taken advantage of a thinning pantheon of male tennis players, with stars such as Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic also absent due to injury. That said, you can only compete against the players they put in front of you and Grigor is enjoying his current world ranking thanks to a well-earned victory in the 2017 ATP Finals. The world number 3 is priced at 10/1 to lift the trophy.
Alexander Zverev Jr.
Of all the pretenders to the throne of Federer it is perhaps Zverev who is the most interesting. At a mere 20 years old, the German is a tennis player whose career appears to be on the ascendancy, rather than in decline. His precise and crisp playing style are delightful to watch and he is a great prospect for the future, but perhaps not the best person to place your money on this time around. Zverev is currently 10/1 to win outright.
Tournament prediction: The bookies look to have it right. Federer to win.
The tip is based on the personal opinion of the author. No success is guaranteed. Please gamble responsibly. 18+
* All mentioned odds were valid at the time of writing. Betting odds are subject to fluctuations. Please check the current odds with the respective bookmaker!
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