The first Grand Slam of the year is finally here! While the last season was pretty brilliant for all the tennis fans, what with the second Serena Slam, Djokovic winning nearly everything and Britain clocking in a first Davis Cup trophy since 1936, it’s time to look forward. It’s one heck of a view, after all! Let’s see which players are the main contenders for the first big title of the year.
1. The Continuous Reign of Novak Djokovic?
Even if you don’t like Djokovic, you still have got to like seeing him play. Saying that he’s talented is a vast understatement to say the least, and it’s no wonder that he’s an absolute favourite to win the Australian Open Singles this time around, too. The UK-licensed bookie TonyBet is certain enough to give him the odds of 7/10 for yet another title.
At the first round of the tournament, he’s meeting Hyeon Chung. The Korean youngster hasn‘t had a chance to play against Djokovic so far – and this is the first time he‘s managed to qualify for Australian Open, too. It‘s pretty safe to say this can‘t really end well for the 19 year old – his youth is very unlikely to be helpful in this scenario.
In the following round, it‘s either a match against another young player, Quentin Halys, or the more-seasoned Ivan Dodig. Djokovic hasn’t played with the first one, but he has had three matches with Dodig which all ended in Serb’s victories. It is the most probable that it will be a while until the world’s #1 has to play against somebody who can really challenge him, especially since Djokovic is in a brilliant form and in his prime.
2. First Title for Andy Murray?
Now the world’s second seed has had an eventful season. It is without a doubt that Murray’s input was what propelled the British Davis Cup team to the long-awaited victory, however, the Scotsman didn’t manage to win any individual titles last year. The furthest he went was Australian Open finals – so can he do better this time around?
In the first round, Andy Murray is meeting Alexander Zverev. They have actually already had a match together this year, which is the only time that they’ve played, and Murray won against the 18-year-old German in the Hopman Cup.
It’s rather obvious that he isn’t likely to have any problems in the second round, either, where he will either meet Adrian Mannarino against whom Murray has won twice in 2015 or Sam Groth, against whom he’s never played before. Now as the competition progresses, he will have a harder time holding his own ground – but his last season has already shown us the Scotsman knows how to do that which is why he’s been given the odds of 5/1 at scoring his first Australian Open title.
3. Will History Repeat Itself for Roger Federer?
Now if Andy Murray isn’t all that far behind Djokovic with his odds at a triumph, Roger Federer’s chances are valued at a much more modest 11/1. Although the world’s no.3 has four Australian Open titles to his name, he didn’t manage to get through to the finals after last winning the tournament in 2010.
In the first round, Federer is going to play against Nikoloz Basilashvili from Georgia, and it’s going to be their first match against each other. The latter has only entered the world of Grand Slams last year, and he seems to be keen on continuing the trend now – but Basilashvili is very likely to lose in the first round just like he did in 2015.
Later on, Federer is going to play against either Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis or Alexandr Dolgopolov. It is more likely that he will have to face the Ukrainian aganst whom he’s won both the matches that they’ve had, but in case of having to play Berankis Federer is pretty much guaranteed to advance anyway.
Even though the favourites may seem very clear now, a lot can still change. Last season we’ve seen some big names fall as early as the first round – but on the other hand, we’ve seen the big names dominating the court as well. The tennis season is officially open – so tune in, and support your champions!