We never have too long to wait for the first tennis Grand Slam of the year and the world’s best players are Down Under preparing for the 2013 Australian Open, with the men’s singles looking like a three-horse race.
Andy Murray is one of three players being treated with the utmost respect by the bookies and it’s hardly a surprise when you consider the Brit reached the final of Wimbledon 2012, won Olympic gold at the same venue before winning his first Grand Slam at Flushing Meadow later in the year.
Nobody can argue that hiring coach Ivan Lendl was anything other than an inspired decision from a 25-year-old who will be confident of at least doubling his tally of major titles in this calendar year, with Murray seeded three for the Melbourne tournament.
The Brit reached the final of the Aussie Open in 2010 and 2011, with Novak Djokovic accounting for him in straight sets two years ago after Federer had done the same twelve months earlier. However, Murray has a steeliness about him now – especially considering he successfully traded blows with the Serbian in that US Open final before winning.
Bet365 offer odds of 5/2 about a back-to-back Slam success for the world number three who clearly believes he is going to win the tournament, although the bookies still consider Djokovic to be the player to beat and that’s perfectly understandable when the world number one has five Grand Slams under his belt.
Nole seems to thrive in the sunshine of Melbourne Park and is no bigger than 5/4 (Sky Bet) to claim a hat-trick of titles, having won his first ever Grand Slam here in 2008 before needing to wait a further three years to add to his collection.
Even so, Djokovic hasn’t won a Slam for twelve months, with Rafael Nadal proving too strong in the French before his other adversaries beat him in the final of Wimbledon and the US Open, with the 25-year-old now looking to dominate as he did in 2011 when winning three titles.
As for Roger Federer, we should know better to write off this legend of tennis who has won the Australian Open on four occasions, even if the most recent of these was in 2010. Indeed, that was his penultimate Grand Slam win, with the 31-year-old ending the drought at SW19 last summer and he remains a major force in the men’s game.
William Hill offer 5/1 that the world number two makes it five triumphs in Melbourne and he will be on the opposite side of the draw to Djokovic, although there are other dangerous players who will be lurking in his half of the section.
Juan Martin Del Potro looks to have overcome several injuries and will feel confident of reaching at least the semi-final thanks to the absence of Rafael Nadal, while David Ferrer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are also likely to appear at the business end of the draw.