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The Thunder Down Under: Who’s Going to Make it Rain in This Year’s Australian Open?
The Thunder Down Under: Who’s Going to Make it Rain in This Year’s Australian Open?
13-Dec-17 Alex Boyden 
 

Who is going to win the first slam of the season?

 
   
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The always entertaining Australian Open is drawing nearer as we get ready to kick off another tantalizing year of tennis. It’s a fantastic event to watch, with beautiful weather, a magnificent sporting arena, and, of course, a host of brilliant stars to dazzle us on the court. With an unpredictable 2017 season that saw so many regulars sidelined with injury problems, it’s going to be nice to start the new year with all the key players re-joining the circuit. Let’s take a look at the top male’s singles who could be adding another title to their trophy cabinet come to the end of January.      

Rafael Nadal

Nadal had an incredible tennis campaign in 2017, and he will undoubtedly be looking to continue that run of form with the first Major Open of the year. He added six titles to his trophy collection, which included winning the French Open for a record tenth time, as well as recording his third US Open victory in New York. Last year in Melbourne he made it through to the final, however, he was overcome by Federer in a five-set thriller. The ‘King of Clay’ has only won the competition once before in 2009 and he will be eager to add to that tally after last season’s disappointment.

The Spaniard finished off the circuit ranked No. 1, but it’s his form against Federer that is the major concern regarding his chances in Australia. The Swiss has won all of their last five meetings, with four of those coming in 2017. It’s quite possible we could see a repeat of last year’s final and, if Nadal wants to take home the silverware, he will have to be at his absolute best.       


Roger Federer

We saw a resurgent campaign from Roger last season, and he played some of the best tennis we’ve seen from him in years. He won seven titles in 2017 with his convincing victory in the Wimbledon final against Marin Cilic in straight sets, the highlight of his season. He also won the Australian Open and will be heading down south with every intention of defending it and adding to the five he already has.

Federer will go into next year’s event as the narrow favorite at +275, just ahead of Nadal on +300 and Novak Djokovic, who is currently at +350. It’s pretty tight between these three big guns and picking the winner is going to be a challenge. With so much quality in the field at this year’s tournament, some bettors may choose to use a tipping site such as Oddschecker to take advantage of some offers, such as Betfair's £100 free wager, to minimize their risk.  

The Swiss will like his chances going into the competition with such a commanding record over Nadal in the previous season. He could face some trouble from Novak or Andy Murray, but a successful defense seems very attainable at this point. If he does happen to hold onto his crown, he will become the first-ever male to win 20 singles majors.

Novak Djokovic

Last year was the first time since 2010 that the Serbian has finished the circuit without winning a major. He did still manage two titles but his season was cut short by a troublesome elbow injury that eventually saw the player take the rest of the year off.

It will be interesting to see how Novak will bounce back after quite a decent stint on the sidelines. He will surely be looking to replicate the type of comeback that Federer had in 2017 and get back to winning ways as soon as possible. Whether or not the Australian Open is too soon for the circuit veteran to be at his best remains to be seen but, hopefully, he gets back to full fitness quickly and has another great season.

If Djokovic manages to take out the event, he will become the most successful male to ever play in the tournament. He currently holds six titles in Melbourne, which is equal with Aussie great Roy Emerson. One more for the Serbian would see him hold the record for the most Australian Opens won by a men’s singles player.  



Andy Murray

Unfortunately, the Briton was another player that had an injury-plagued season last year. His last appearance was at Wimbledon when he succumbed to a hip injury, crashing out of the tournament to the then current world No. 28, Sam Querrey.

He is currently the fourth favorite for the title sitting just behind Djokovic at +500, but it’s hard to see him making it to the final with such with such a long break between competitions. If he can manage to get an easy draw early on, it may give him some time to get back to his regular rhythm of play.

Stan Wawrinka

Stan was in fine form in Melbourne last year and just missed out on the final after going down to his fellow countryman Federer in an epic five-set semi-final. He’ll be hoping to go one better this campaign, considering how consistently successful he has been in Australia during recent times. The Swiss has reached the semi-finals or better in three out of the past four years, and won the event back in 2014. If he can avoid a showdown with the top three favorites until later on in the tournament, he may be able to cause an upset or two down the track.


The Australian Open runs from January 15th to the 28th in Melbourne, Victoria, with all finals being played at the Rod Laver Arena. Will one of these five players lift the trophy after the final? Only time will tell. But with so many players returning from injury, there may even be a chance for a new Australian Open champion in 2018.


WHO IS GOING TO WIN THE FIRST SLAM OF THE YEAR?     
                                 
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