We take a look at our likely predicted Mens winners and Dark Horses at the Australian Open 2017. There are 128 players in the draw but there can only be one winner. Being very early in the season we are also likely to see quite a few surprises along the way. Will be see a bolter go deep like Jo Wilfried Tsonga in 2009? Or will the status quo and the seeding hold up to the final?
Who will lift the title?
I felt that the Doha final just a week ago was an important final for both Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic. Important to ascertain each other’s level but more importantly to get an early mental advantage ahead of the Aus Open. Djokovic was able to win played the biggest points well and certainly got an early blow against Murray. He stayed cool under pressure and was able to forget about the moment. We saw a familiar Djokovic, one that could handle everything that was thrown him and looked motivated to win every match and retain his number one ranking. In the fourth round Djokovic is likely to face Dimitrov or Gasquet. Thiem lies in wait at the quarter final stage with Raonic in the semis. With the exception of Raonic all these guys have one handed backhands, Djokovic has them in his pocket even at 70%. Djokovic can get to the final with plenty to spare. Murray is his likely opponent such a matchup is mouth watering.
Milos Raonic. It would be unfair for us to label Raonic as a dark horse for the title especially given the Canadian is ranked number 3 in the world. With a serve that regularly tops well over 200kmph and the rapid courts of Melbourne Park; Raonic has a massive advantage against most opponents. He can knock them back with his serve and has built a solid base line game to pick off the short returns. His path to the final is not easy but it is manageable. On form and ranking Raonic will play Gilles Muller in the second round, Giles Simon in the third followed by potential clashes with Bautista Agut or Ferrer. In the quarter finals he is likely to play against Rafael Nadal in the quarters and Novak Djokovic in the semis. Nick Kyrgios has the game to go deep in the draw too. Explosive, flashy and brilliant at times he can thrill. If Kyrgios brings his A game mentally then he could prove very hard to beat. Sadly many local players seem to suffer extremely badly with the pressure of expectation for the Aussie media. Nick seems to have a thick skin and hopefully should thrive with all eyes on him! Alexandr Zverev also had a notable victory against Federer in Perth just a week ago. Many tip him as a future number one but can he win the Aussie Open? This would be a huge win and a popular winner. He would be the ultimate Dark Horse.