LOVEtennis Blog have got 3 tennis experts to give their predictions on the upcoming Australian Open. We asked them, who do you think will win the Mens and Ladies titles?
Rafa’s more motivated than ever to complete the first grand slam since Bryan Adams got his first real six string. Can’t write Roger off though:He’s the defending champion and beat Rafa in London. Does Murray have the mental toughness to rewrite the wrongs of last year’s final? Can Djokovic find his midas touch in Oz once again? Or can Soderling put his money where his mouth is and prove he’s a big time player? I’m fence sitting this year as it’s the most open slam in years, but it’s the Ozzy open, so expect the unexpected!
Can Kimmy finally erase her Aussie Open hoo doo, having owned the US Open these past few seasons can she win down under? Will Caro succumb to the pressure of the Number 1 tag and a very very tough draw?Henin has played her cards right taking the pressure off her performance by insisting that she wont be fully fit til June, could she be an outsider? Will Masha ever rediscover her serve and hold it together for the duration of the slam. Azarenka, Kvitova, Venus. Zvonny and home town girl Sammy Stosur all have a shout. So many potential contenders in the womens draw and we havent even mentioned the Serbians.
I can’t see past Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer in the men’s tournament. They are playing their tennis on another level, as witnessed recently in London, Abu Dhabi and Qatar. On any given day the next tier of players, such as Murray, Djokovic or Soderling, might upset one of the top two, but it would be very difficult to beat both of them consecutively. Nadal’s serve has become more of a weapon in the past twelve months, and he has shown continued improvement on the hard courts by moving in and taking the ball earlier. His grit and determination are never in question. Federer’s shot-making and technical prowess keep him at the top of the game. If his ferocious forehand remains consistent he will at least reach the final. As I don’t want to jinx Rafa by tipping the Spaniard, I’ll put this down as too close to call.
The women’s competition is more difficult to call. This might make it more interesting to watch than the men’s tournament. Any one of a number of ladies can win this; indeed there could be a surprise winner, as Francesca Schiavone was in Paris last June. I would pick Caroline Wozniacki or Kim Clijsters as the players to watch. Caroline is currently the world no.1 and has the all-round game to win a few majors. As with a lot of the ladies in the modern game she can generate such power, this will make her difficult to beat. She is capable of getting through to the final of a grand slam, as evidenced by her run at the US Open in 2009. Her conqueror at Flushing Meadows, Kim Clijsters, has shown her steely determination by coming out of retirement and winning the US Open two years running. She never seems fazed and handles tournament pressure well. My prediction is that these two will meet in the final, with Caroline Wozniacki taking the title.
Young Andy has snuck in under the radar this year. In 2010 he was most bookies favourites to win, his low key build up has helped keep him out of the limelight which should help his progress. He has the game to win a slam, he must take the bull by the horns and attack his opponents. In the heat of the Aussie summer he cannot afford to chase balls for 4 hours. To beat Soderling Nadal and then Federer is a big ask, but Andy can do it, he must believe he can. Scotland is right behind you Andy, bring it home
Experience will tell in the women’s draw, the majority of the Top 10 are mid to late twenties which is surely a sign of a change in the women’s game. There seem a lot of possibles, not many probables for the title. How can we look past Clijsters, Henin and Caro? Surely Stosur will not be able to hack the pressure. Outsiders, Maria Sharpova, Venus, Victoria Azarenka, Zvonareva, Li Na all have a chance. The first week will tell us a lot. Big names against each other in the first round Dinara Safina former number one and Marat’s brother faces Kim Clijsters which will be one to watch.
Rafael Nadal is in the form of his life and in grandslam shape is very hard to beat. Even a silly little virus will do little to dethrone Rafas title bid. He has a straightforward draw which should allow him to gain some confidence and play his way into form. Soderlings break up with long term coach Magnus Norman has helped his game, as he demolished the Brisbane field last week, his serve is begining to become one of the biggest weapons on the tour. Djokovic will be there or there abouts, he must be at his best to win, but he is as confident as he as ever has been. And who could forget Roger, what a great partnership that has developed between Paul Annacone and Roger; Federer is a joy to watch. Still Nadal to win and lift his 4th Slam in a row
Would the Ladies please stand up? Does anybody want to rule the WTA or will we just share the number one ranking and slams around? With Serena gone can sister Venus win a slam outside Wimbledon, can Sharapovas Dodgy shoulder hold up? The new generation of Wozniacki, Zvonareva, Azarenka, Kvitova will all be aiming to be there by the 2nd week. The Belgians can also be considered in the group of favourites, however open isnt the word for this tournament. Clijsters to win.