Our first tennis major of 2019 has arrived as we head down under for the Australian Open.
Another year, another major, yet the market leaders remain the same. Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal dominated the majors in 2018. They shared all four between them and it wouldn’t be surprising to see one of the three taking the title.
The Serb justifies the heavy favourite tag this week off the back of his resurgent 2018 season. He is currently on a two-slam winning streak and will be confident he can continue the streak in a major he has had a lot of success at in the past.
He comes into this event match hardened having competed in both singles and doubles in Doha getting to the semi-finals in both.
Novak is ready and poised to capture a record seventh title – he will take some stopping!
Federer is back to back champion here and has the game to go for three in a row.
That said, Roger did show worrying signs in the second half of 2018 with poor results and performances. He will be encouraged the start of his year beating 3 of the next gen – Tiafoe, Tsitsipas and Zverev all in straight sets.
His form will give him big confidence that he can work his way into the tournament before a likely battle in the final with Novak.
I worry for Rafa’s chances this year. The Spaniard has been plagued with little injuries that has seen his court time limited over the last few months.
However, if he can get over his injury doubts, negotiate the early rounds, he will pose a huge threat as he has the weapons to beat anyone.
The German has failed to cope with the expectations in major championships. For a player ranked No.4 in the world, his major record is very poor – he has failed to make a semi-final from 16 appearances and only made on quarter final.
With Ivan Lendl now in his corner, he has a coach and a mentor who has been there and done it. This could be the missing piece to Zverev’s major puzzle.
Zverev won the Tour Finals in London at the end of 2018, beating Novak in the final. That confidence of beating the best on the biggest stage could be invaluable as the tournament progresses.
“Ando” has a massive serve and will love the conditions down under. His power based game and aggressive style make him a huge threat on his favourite surface.
Kevin has found his best tennis in the latter stages of his career. He keeps proving his pedigree knocking on the door in the majors – he has reached the final in 2 of the last 5 grand slams.
A decent looking quarter could see Kevin go deep into the tournament and he is worth an each way bet.
The Croat has all the physical attributes to cope with the five set matches. His game is designed to replicate Novak Djokovic, he combines fantastic movement with relentless consistency and depth in his groundstrokes.
Coric has proven he can beat the best and could easy have a run this week. I would look at Borna as genuine each way value.