The first tennis grand-slam of the season is eagerly awaited and, though Stan Wawrinka pulled-off a 66/1 surprise last year – it’s difficult to look beyond the top-8 seeds for the winner this year.
Read our analysis of the top-8 players in the men’s game and all our top tennis betting tips for the Australian Open below:
Novak Djokovic (Evens)
The world number one won a hat-trick of Australian Open titles (2011-2013) before succumbing to last year’s winner Stan Wawrinka in the quarter-finals. However, he’s won just two of his last eight grand-slams, and just one of his last five hard-court grand-slams. Victory would come as no surprise but, after a reported bout of flu last week, I don’t want to back him at even-money.
Roger Federer (6/1)
The world number two has lost his last nine grand-slams, reaching just one final in that time. However, the three-time Australian Open winner has reached the semi-finals in Melbourne in each of the last four years, losing out to Nadal twice, Murray once and Djokovic once. This year he’s in the same half of the draw as both Murray and Nadal, but looks to be in better form than his possible quarter-final and semi-final opponents.
Rafael Nadal (10/1)
The world number three won this title in 2009 and reached both the 2012 and 2014 finals. Excluding the French Open, which he’s won nine of the last ten of, he’s won just one of his last twelve other grand-slams. Also arrives in the worst form of the top-seeds – and looks the most likely to make an early exit.
Stan Wawrinka (14/1)
Pulled off a 66/1 shocker when winning this event last year, despite having reached the semi-finals of the US Open in 2013. He also reached the quarter-finals of both Wimbledon and the US Open in 2014, where he respectively lost to Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori. He’s looked in decent form of late and will be looking forward to a possible semi-final rematch against Djokovic – whom he looks the best-equipped to beat.
Kei Nishikori (16/1)
Before reaching last year’s US Open final, his highest grand-slam finish was reaching the quarter-finals of the 2012 renewal of this event. He’s fancied by many leading experts to continue his progression this season, but Djokovic and Wawrinka are likely to stand in his way.
Andy Murray (11/1)
Overpriced on the fact he’s won two of his last nine grand-slams (makes him a 7/2 shot) and reached three Australian Open finals, losing to Djokovic twice and Federer. However, despite showing winning form at the end of last season and the beginning of this, he’s yet to fully convince he’s the player who won the 2012 US Open and 2013 Wimbledon titles.
Tomas Berdych (33/1)
Hammered by Nadal in his only grand-slam final, he probably wasted his best chance of grand-slam success when losing to Wawrinka in last-year’s semi-final. Possibly in the easiest quarter of the draw, and may well be able to take advantage of Nadal’s poor form to at least reach the semi-finals where either Federer or Murray will probably await him.
Milos Raonic (40/1)
The big-serving Canadian is the youngest of the protagonists at 24, and managed to reach the semi-finals of Wimbledon last year. However he’s seeded to meet Djokovic in the quarter-finals, who he’s yet to beat in three attempts.
Djokovic is easily the most likely winner but, as he looks too short at even-money, Federer is perhaps the value a 6/1 as he look in better form than both Murray and Nadal who are in his half of the draw.
2 points each-way Federer @ 6/1
It’s 10/3 that the final is played out between the top-2 seeds Djokovic and Federer, whilst the 20/1 that it’s an all Swiss final of Federer and Wawrinka looks the best value alternative
2 points Djokovic and Federer final @ 10/3
1 point Federer and Wawrinka final @ 20/1
Nadal is even-money to win the third quarter, but looks taking on with Berdych.
3 points Berdych to win third quarter @ 5/2