Next Monday, Melbourne will host the 105th edition of the Australian Open Tennis Championships where 128 players will battle for the first slam title of the year.
As always, you will find the best betting odds on the betting exchange.
The Outright Markets are again quite interesting this year (for more information about Outright bets, please read our previous article > Tennis and Outright Markets). The odds of world #1 Andy Murray and world #2 Novak Djokovic are very close this week, both being, basically, co-favorite to win the tournament.
Andy Murray‘s price is 2.84 at the moment.
Many tennis experts had doubts about the Scottish player and his ability to cope with the pressure of being the best tennis man in the world. Yet, Murray won the World Tour Finals two months ago, and in impressive fashion by defeating world #5, #4, #3 and his nemesis, world #2, Novak Djokovic.
~Pros: the Australian Open is Andy Murray’s second best slam after Wimbledon (yes he won the US Open, never won in Melbourne, but his record is overall better at the Australian Open with 5 finals reached) and his main rival’s form has been questionable lately.
~Cons: he has not defeated Novak Djokovic in a best-of-5-sets match since July 2013 (5 straight losses).
Novak Djokovic‘s odds: 2.78.
The Serb has surprised many experts last year after losing early at Wimbledon and the Olympics. He stated that he was feeling exhausted, both mentally and physically, after chasing so many titles last two seasons. His performance against Andy Murray in the World Tour Finals was also quite poor, but he did reach the final of the tournament.
~Pros: Djokovic lost only once in Melbourne since year 2011. He is aiming at his 7th trophy, and his overall record against Murray speaks for itself.
~Cons: The Serb has not yet found his best form, despite winning in Doha last week. To do so, he had to save several match points in the semi-final (against Verdasco) and struggled to close it out against Murray. His physical and mental conditions are still a questionmark.
Stanislas Wawrinka: 15.0.
The surprising Swiss player has the best record in slam finals since year 2014. He actually never lost a slam final since winning in Melbourne three years ago.
~Pros: Wawrinka seems to be in Djokovic’s head and the last US Open’s final was another evidence.
~Cons: he is known for being inconsistent, and his form in Brisbane last week was not excellent. He may be preparing for Wimbledon later on this year, the only slam title missing to his resume.
Rafael Nadal: 18.0.
The Spaniard was overall better in 2016 than in 2015, yet he failed to reach any slam quarter-finals. He showed signs of brilliance in Abu Dabi two weeks ago (exhibition), yet lost to Raonic last week in Brisbane after dominating most of the match.
~Pros: Nadal feels no pressure heading to Melbourne and he still has the upper hand in best-of-5-sets match against top 10 players not named Novak Djokovic.
~Cons: The Spaniard actually lost to many non top 10 players in slams last 2 seasons, so an early exit is not unlikely anymore. Besides, Djokovic beat him 7 consecutives times since 2015 without dropping a single set.
Milos Raonic: 22.0.
Milos did very well in slams last year. He reached the semis of the Australian Open by beating Wawrinka and Monfils, and for a while looked like he was going to defeat Murray, before losing in a cruel 5 setters. He also reached the final of Wimbledon, again losing to Murray.
~Pros: Raonic likes this tournament, he made himself a name back in 2011 by reaching the quarter-finals there. His form last year was quite impressive and experts say the surface this year should be quicker.
~Cons: he still can not find a way to beat great returners, so he might want to avoid both Murray and Djokovic to win the title. Very unlikely.
Roger Federer: 24.0.
For the first time in Australia since 2002, Federer’s price is above 20.0 and we feel it is justified. The Swiss had to take 6 months away from the tour due to a serious knee injury. He came back earlier this year for the Hopman Cup, recorded a win against Richard Gasquet, but failed to beat rising star Alexander Zverev.
~Pros: there are unfortunately not many logical reasons to back Federer this time, apart from the fact that he will feel no pressure in Melbourne, and always has a massive support from the crowd. His record against Murray in slams is also a positive (only one loss… in Australia four years ago).
~Cons: having missed the second half of last year’s season, Federer’s physical condition is very questionable, especially in best-of-5-sets format. Besides, his seeding (#17) makes it possible to draw some dangerous players early in the tournament, one of them being his nemesis Rafel Nadal, whom he could meet in Round 3.
Other names in the draw who may be a threat include the Japanese Kei Nishikori who stated that the Australian Open is his favorite slam, despite never reaching the semis yet. However, his physical condition is often doubtful.
Grigor Dimitrov on the other hand, gained a lot of confidence last week when winning the title in Brisbane by defeating three top 10 players (Thiem, Raonic and Nishikori). The Bulgarian is trading around 55.0.
Local star Nick Kyrgios has not displayed great motivation lately but he can always be dangerous at home, a tournament where he reached the quarters two years ago.
Alexander Zverev is, according to many experts, a future world #1, but has not showed yet great abilities in slams, while his friend from Austria, Dominic Thiem, is still a far better player on his favorite surface, clay.
We wish you good luck for the first tennis slam of the year, and please don’t hesitate to share your views by using the comment box below.