Australian Open Preview 2017January 15, 2017
Preview of the 2017 Australian Open
The 2017 Australian Open tennis tournament will be staged at Melbourne Park from January 16 - January 29. The tournament features the best players in world tennis as they vie to become the year’s first Grand Slam champion.
There is added intrigue to the 2017 event, as no longer are perennial winners Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams ranked number 1 in the world. Many pundits believe, there chances of winning at Melbourne Park over the next fortnight are slimmer than in years previous, and betting markets reflect this sentiment.
The Men’s event
The Men’s event is fascinating. The two favourites, at almost equal quote ($2.70), are Andy Murray and Djokovic. However, there are questions marks over both.
The big two
Recently parted coach, Boris Becker, believes that Djokovic has lost the hunger that has driven him to enormous success over the past 6 or so years. This argument is backed up by the Serbian’s performances in the second half of 2016, where he faltered unexpectedly and uncharacteristically a number of times.
On the plus side, he has won at Melbourne Park a record 6 times previously and he has a decided mental advantage over Murray, should the two meet in the final. Another bonus is that he won’t have to face nemesis, Stan Wawrinka, before the final. The worry for Djokovic, is that he is not able to pull himself out of a difficult match during the early rounds.
For Murray, despite claiming the year-end number 1 ranking, and defeating Djokovic in the 2016 ATP Tour final, he has still only claimed 3 Grand Slams to date. Worse still, he is 0 from 5 in Australian Open finals, a hoodoo that is sure to carry with it some baggage. Not only this, he lost to Djokovic in Qatar last week and trails 25-11 in match ups against the Serb.
The next contenders according to bookmakers are Swiss Stan Wawrinka ($13) and giant Canadian Milos Raonic ($17).
Wawrinka loves playing at Melbourne Park. He is the 2014 champion and in all boasts 3 Grand Slam titles, the same number as Murray. He is coming off a strong 2016, and most recently, a win at the 2016 US Open. Wawrinka isn’t as consistent as the two top players but you simply couldn’t argue against backing him at the $13 quote.
Can Raonic break through?
Yes. The big serving Canadian is now number 3 in the world. In last year’s Open, he led Murray 2 sets to love before succumbing to injury. He made the Wimbledon final in 2016 and looks set to break through for a major victory sometime soon. It could be the 2017 Australian Open. He’s a decent bet at $17, and he’s an even better bet to win his quarter of the draw at $3.30.
Federer and Nadal - the old guard
It’s hard to get excited about Federer or Nadal’s chances over the next fortnight. Federer is returning from an injury enforced layoff in the second half of 2016, one of very few in his career. For all Federer’s mastery and imposing Grand Slam record, it is coming up on 5 years since Federer last won a major (Wimbledon 2012), and 7 years since he last won the Australian Open.
Nadal does not appear to be the same player he was 4 years ago. Persistent injuries have dulled the brightest of careers. Each comeback brings with it renewed hope, his latest at the start of 2017 is no different. A string of good performances has fans believing the Spanish champ can relive past glories, and the addition of Carlos Moya to the coaching team is another cause for optimism in the Nadal camp. However, despite his dominance at the French Open, his recent Grand Slam record is poor. In short, his $17 price does not represent any value. If you truly believe, back him to make a quarter final.
No one is talking about Marin Cilic, but incredibly he is one of only 6 players in the Men’s draw to have won a Grand Slam! Given the doubts surrounding, Federer and Nadal, not to mention the two favourites, he simply cannot be ignored, especially at the $51 on offer.
Nick Kygrios is rated a $34 chance by most betting agencies. Whilst he has the talent, and game, to beat anyone, it is highly unlikely that he can do so consistently throughout a two Grand Slam tournament. Lacking match practice, and carrying a knee injury, it is hard to see him winning the 3 hard matches he will need to at the end of the tournament. That said, he can of course make a semi final, if you fancy him, perhaps this is a batter path to take.
Bernard Tomic is the forgotten man of Australian tennis. He still possesses a great game, and has been spruiking his new, improved fitness regime. Whilst, his form has not been flattering so far in 2017, he is nonetheless a good roughie at $23 to make a semi final.
The Women’s Australian Open
The Women’s event is historically far less predictable. Whilst Serena Williams ($3.75) has dominated the game for the past decade, she is not as consistent as the ‘Big 4’ have been in the Men’s game. Angelique Kerber ($5) will seek to defend her title in Melbourne.
It’s going to be hard for Williams
Williams is going to find it tough. She did not play much tennis in the latter half of 2016. She may well have difficulty overcoming first round opponent Belinda Bencic. The $3.75 to win the tournament is way too short. If you do like her to win, maybe start by laying her on Betfair and back her back at a better quote. It’s highly unlikely she will sail through the event without being challenged.
Our Australian Open tips
The Men's event is more open than the odds suggest. There is some value in some of the outsiders to win the tournament, and to make a semi final. For day-to-day betting, it'd be worth playing the markets and using bookmaker promotions on head to head bets to extract maximum gain from each round.
- To make a semi final - Raonic at $3.30
- To win outright - Raonic and Wawrinka
- Something rough - Cilic to win ($51), Tomic to make a semi ($23)
- Women’s outright - Wide open, lay Williams