Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray? Does the Australian Open 2017 simply boil down
to that one simple question? They are the big guns in the game at the moment without a shadow of a doubt, and it is highly debatable as to whether or not there is actually anyone around good enough to prevent either one of them winning
the title in Melbourne. Frankly the answer to that is that there really isn’t and the top two in the world are going to be backed heavily to reach the final of the Australian Open 2017 and have another big showdown there.
What perhaps make it a little more interesting this time around is the resounding success that Andy Murray had down
the back stretch of 2016, including of course, his Wimbledon win and Olympic Gold Medal. With Novak Djokovic sliding down in form, Murray became the dominant force in the game, sweeping title after title and finishing the year as World Number One.
That was a massive boost for the Scot and despite losing against Djokovic in Doha in January, Murray strengthened his grip on the top spot.
But that is probably just going to throw fuel on Djokovic's fire
because the Serbian isn’t going anywhere without a fight and with his six titles at Melbourne Park, is going to be the one to beat and he goes to Australia as the 13/8 favourite with Paddy Power
. Murray goes as 7/4 second favourite to go all the way and as these two will be the top two seeds, they will be apart until the final.
The Australian Open 2017 starts on January 16th with the final being held on January 29th
. Djokovic is going for the all time record of seven Australian Open career wins,
while Murray is looking to end a streak of five defeats in the final (all but one of them at the hands of Djokovic) to land his first ever crown in Melbourne. It’s going to an interesting week and with both of them running to the final of Doha and needing a deciding set to split them in the final, this is likely to go down to the wire between them again.
Don’t forget the exhausting climate as well and those fast courts
, which makes returning serves a nightmare. This opening Grand Slam is a survival of the fittest at times and just one player from outside of the top ten has made it to the Final in the last ten editions. Why? Because the fittest players are generally those at the top of the rankings. They tend to be able to grind it out just that little bit better than the average crowd. Again, it all points to Djokovic or Murray as no-one matches them for endurance or quality.
Australian Open 2017 Men's Singles Betting Odds
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Australian Open 2017 Men's Singles Preview
Well he is the man to beat without question. He deserves to go into Melbourne Park action as favourite, despite his poor second half to 2016. He has largely been unstoppable on the blue courts
Down Under and he still managed to produce the best 12 months on hard courts of all players on the ATP. The meeting with Murray in the final of Doha recently produced some pointers. Djokovic was actually underdog for that one and despite wasting numerous shots
at closing out the match in the second set, he let it slip but powered his way, without fuss and bother in the deciding set. This is the year to back Djokovic
, because he is at a bigger price than you will have seen him going into Australian Open action at for some time, and that’s down to Murray’s rise in status. Don't forget too his six titles at the Australian Open and five in the last six editions. He is likely going to take some stopping coming in fresh for the new year.
The only real contender to Djokovic but Murray on the very quick courts, hasn’t been able to touch the Serbian in Melbourne
before and he’s not likely too this time around. Unless Djokovic has a big slip up along the way somewhere and doesn't reach the final, then Murray could find himself having to settle for second best
again here. The bookmakers may have overvalued him on the back of his 2016 form
and that just lends more value to Djokovic. The stats from last year overall suggest that Murray isn’t producing at the level of Djokovic in terms of breaking serve and landing first serves. The current form may have given him and his fans great optimism that he can break his Melbourne Park duck, but he was second best in Doha against Djokovic
and the Serbian is going to massively eager to get early season and early season momentum going behind him.
Stan the man is probably the only man in the field good enough (and the only win with a proven track record), to cause a genuine upset in this one.
However, he is far from being a player that punters can trust. Wawrinka just tanked at the back end of last season, failing to make any significant progress in lower-rankings tournaments that he was favourite to win. He went to Brisbane as a warm up presumably to get some action in on a fast court ahead of the Australian Open. He doesn’t handle the fast game as well as he does in slower conditions. While he could have gone elsewhere like Chennai and given himself a chance at landing some confidence ahead of the Australian Open, did he make a mistake in going to Brisbane where he lost in the semi final to Nishikori? Wawrinka is capable of beating the best in the world, more so than any other player in the field, but he is so hit and miss
and it’s only on those rare occasions that he actually brings his A-game and his A-focus.
Another one of the main contenders behind Murray and Djokovic and yet you can pick some pretty big holes in his game.
He’s not the greatest of returners of serve in the world at all and when fatigue kicks in during the second week of the tournament, this is where he starts failing. His game is largely based on his heavy, heavy serve, but that takes its toll in the more gruelling setting of a grand slam. He came on leaps and bounds last year
but he still yet to win an ATP title and should be a lock for a quarter final berth, but it will be a surprise if he goes further. He isn’t likely to keep up on the fast courts in the second week and his defence will get exposed.
Rafael Nadal & Roger Federer
Yes, we can lump these two former greats together. Neither had a good 2016 and will have to dust themselves off, grind through the rust and dig deep for the Australian Open.
Nadal went to the quarter finals of Brisbane this month where he lost to Raonic. As for Federer, he muddled through the Hopman Cup exhibition tournament with a W2 L1 record from this three games. There is a big possibility that Nadal will be out of the top eight seeds and Federer out of the top 16. Federer has landed himself in the same quarter as Murray, while Nadal has an easier time of things in the same quarter as Milos Raonic, but he would have to get through Djokovic in the semi's if they both get that far. It would be a bigger shock than Raonic winning the thing outright if one of these get the title.
Kei Nishikori, Nick Kyrgios and Grigor Dimitrov
The Grand Slam is a grueling, high pressure event and none of these dark horse really look as if they have
the mental game to all of the way. Nishikori lacks the competitive edge when the pressure is on, while the fiery temptations of Nishikori and Dimitrov work against them. Dimitrov did win the Brisbane title recently, but stepping up to a Grand Slam is a whole different kettle of fish.
Australian Open Notbale Quarter Seeds
1st Quarter: Andy Murray (1st), Kei Nishikori (5th), Tomas Berdych (10th) Roger Federer (17th)
2nd Quarter: Stan Warinka (4th), Marin Cilic (7th)
3rd Quarter: Milos Raonic (3rd), Gael Monfils (6th), Rafa Nadal (9th)
4th Quarter: Novak Djokovic (2nd), Dominic Thiem (8th)
Australian Open 2017 Men's Singles Prediction
We just can’t look past Novak Djokovic for this one. He is going to be hungrier than ever now that he has to try and knock Andy Murray off the number one perch.
Djokovic just has the extra touch on the blue courts of Melbourne to deliver the goods. He has done it six times before and destroyed the hopes of Murray often enough here. The winter break will have done Djokovic the power of good
and as he showed in beating Murray in Doha, he is not going to just sit back and take being number two. Djokovic to land his seventh Australian Open title looks to be the way to go.