Djokovic Domination To Continue In Australian Open
Men's Australian Open
Novak Djokovic heads the betting for the 2015 Men’s Australian Open. Is he on course for another title in Melbourne?
After a brief midwinter break, the world’s best have arrived in Melbourne for the first of the year’s Grand Slam events. The Australian Open is the youngest of the four big tournaments, and historically has been the least predictable, although Novak Djokovic has done his best to change that. The world number two has won four of the last seven, and is aiming to set a new professional-era record of five titles.
Hard courts are said to combine the attributes of clay and grass, but not all hard courts are the same, in fact, there is a wide variation between the different types. The Plexicushion surface at Melbourne Park is rated as Medium-Fast by the ITF, faster than the Deco Turf material used at the US Open, and last year the courts were said to have been at their fastest since the old Rebound Ace surface was replaced in 2008, which gives the bigger servers plenty to work with.
Who To Avoid
This time last year Rafael Nadal was the world number one, but having missed most of the second half of 2014 with various injuries and ailments, he has slipped from the summit, and in his reappearance at Doha, crashed out in the first round to Michael Berrer, ranked 127. He reached the final in Melbourne last year, but the Australian Open is his least successful Grand Slam and in his current shape, I can see him departing before the quarter-finals this time.
The dominance of the Big Four is waning, and the antepost market reflects that, with one notable exception.
Novak Djokovic was knocked out by eventual winner Stanislas Wawrinka last year, but he went on to enjoy another impressive season, regaining the world number one spot and winning seven titles, including Wimbledon.
His domination of this often unpredictable early season event has been remarkable and he is a solid bet at 9/10 to pick up a fifth Australian Open.
Milos Raonic enjoyed an excellent year in 2014, becoming at Wimbledon the first Canadian player since 1908 to reach the semi-finals of a Grand Slam and cementing his place in the top ten. A lingering ankle injury meant he wasn’t able to do himself justice in Melbourne last year, but his big serving style is perfectly suited to the conditions, and he has kicked off 2015 in strong form, reaching the final in Brisbane earlier this month. He’s a good bet to go far in the tournament at 25/1.
The final name to add to your shortlist is Nick Kyrgios. The young Australian progressed nicely in 2014, picking up three titles and beating Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon, and has the talent to cause more surprises this year. He will have plenty of home crowd support and is worth considering each way at 66/1.