Federer early Australian Open favorite ahead of Nadal and Djokovic

Nobody could have expected Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer to finish No. 1 and No. 2 in the rankings, respectively, at the end of 2017–and with plenty of room to spare. After all, the two all-time greats went into the season ninth (Nadal) and 16th (Federer) in the world, seemingly on the way down instead of on the way up given that they were already into their 30s. Expecting them to combine for one of the four Grand Slam titles would have seemed fair, if not generous. But all four? Absolutely not.

At the other end of the spectrum, no one could have anticipated the brutal injury luck suffered by other top players–namely Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori, and Milos Raonic. All five of those men easily played their way into the 2016 World Tour Finals; not one of them appeared at the O2 Arena this time around.

It’s safe to say this past season was full of surprises on the ATP Tour. If it can be taken as a harbinger of things to come, we should expect the unexpected in 2018. As we learned from 2017, nothing–and no one–is certain. Nadal is 31 and Federer is 36; at what point will injury issues finally turn their nibble into a bite, as they did for younger competitors in 2017? How will Murray, Djokovic, and the rest of the infirmary patients bounce back in 2018? Will Grigor Dimitrov, Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem, and David Goffin continue to rise? Is Juan Martin Del Potro ready for a return to the upper echelons of the sport? Can Nick Kyrgios live up to his incredible but currently untapped potential?

Those questions will begin to be answered at next month’s Australian Open. Check out the Online Tennis odds for the Australian Open.

Federer is the oddsmakers’ current title favorite. And why not? The Swiss is the defending champion and coming off a season in which he compiled a 52-5 record with seven titles (two majors: Aussie and Wimbledon). Federer also finished it in good health, despite losing to Goffin at the Nitto ATP Finals.

“Roger has won five titles from the last nine tournaments he’s played and he can’t wait to come back, step out on Rod Laver Arena again,and begin his title defense,” tournament director Craig Tiley commented. “He loves playing here, loves the Aussie fans, and has said his Australian Open win this year was one of the most meaningful of his career.

“With the return of Novak, Andy and Stan, who will all have lower rankings, there’s also a real chance we’ll finally see a breakthrough from one of the rising stars like Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem or David Goffin.”

Djokovic and Nadal are the next two favorites, followed not too far behind by Murray before a big gap separates those four from the likes of Wawrinka, Zverev, Dimitrov, and Kyrgios.

Nadal, who finished runner-up to Federer in Melbourne this past year, has won three of the four slams at least twice. The one exception is the Australian Open, where he triumphed in 2009. The Spaniard played only one match last month in London before withdrawing due to a knee injury. Djokovic (a six-time champion) and Murray (who has never won the Aussie Open but has reached the final on five occasions) are obvious question marks. Kyrgios has already played his fair share of late-night Melbourne classics, but never in the latter rounds.

And with so many top contenders to be seeded lower than usual, we could be in for an especially wild ride Down Under. Fasten your seatbelts.

39 Comments on Federer early Australian Open favorite ahead of Nadal and Djokovic

  1. Andy will replace Novak today in Abu Dhabi. Have friends in Perth Australia who seen Fed practice today. Said his forehand looked good but his drive through backhand was off and Fed was getting annoyed with himself

  2. I really really feel that with the big four plus Stan all off color (whether it’s a bit or a lot), it’s now a good chance for the so called second tier top ten players, plus the slam champion ie Delpo, to make a move and win a slam. If not now, then when? Until the big four and Stan are back fit and healthy?

    • Honestly if someone outside of the big four or Stan doesn’t win a slam this year, they might NEVER win one lol!! #FedalDominationTil2020

  3. I Just dont see Delpo winning another GS or anything major anymore, hes good for pulling off the odd big winning against one of the elite players, he just cant seem to back it up with another, the ships sailed ….

    • Delpo’s ship has not sailed yet. He’s about Dimitrov’s age I think and, wrist surgeries aside, does not have a lot of wear and tear on his body since he’s missed so much tennis. He’s a big guy though, 5 setters are hard on him. He got lucky in 2009 when Rafa’s ab tear didn’t let him put up much resistance, leaving Delpo fresh for the final.

      • Delpo is 29, will be 30 by Sept 2018.

        Why his ship has sailed? He reached the SF of USO2017, beat Fed in the QF and Thiem in R4 before losing to Rafa. The guy is very fit now(stamina wise), if not he couldn’t come from behind to beat Thiem in five sets, beat Fed in four sets and lost to Rafa in four sets.

        He played at Beijing, Shanghai (SF), Stockholm (Winner), Basel final before losing in QF to Isner in Paris; some of his matches went the distance. He practically played non stop for five weeks and went deep in most tournaments; how’s he not fit to go the distance at the slams?

        • In fact, Delpo will be a big threat to both the big four + top tier guys, and of course in their absence, would be the biggest threat to guys like Dimi, Goffin, Thiem,A Zverev and Cilic in their pursuit of a slam.

  4. Not looking good for three of the big four, plus Stan, Kei and Raonic. All the years of toiling has now taken its tolls on their bodies; incredible how they all got injured almost at the same time.

    Fed needed six months break to get back to fitness but had his back issue at end of season; Rafa his knee issue. It seems that Djoko and Murray after their five to six months breaks still couldn’t get back their fitness, worrying. Stan after his knee surgery is not ready yet; Kei and Raonic have wrist issue? And still not alright yet?

    It seems that their injuries are all very serious, after months of rest and they’re still not fit and healthy. It’s quite worrying to see seven top guys struggling with injuries. Perhaps, the second tier guys will now have their chances, to rise to the top tier and stay there for a while, if not permanently.

    • Seems like the transition’s finally gonna happen,and it’s not because the younger guys are taking the old dominant guys,but because injuries are barring them,which is actually very sad but well,nothing can last forever. I sense a HUGE chance for Dimitrov to win his first Major at the AO.

      • I’m with you about Dimi. He’s improving almost every week after the USO. He winning the WTF title will certainly give him lots of confidence going into 2018 season. It’s a good chance for him at the AO when many top tier players may or will be absent.

  5. The way Fed goes about his fitness and schedule is an example for youngsters and big 3. Fed’s fitness is almost a given and very underrated part of his overall reign . Fed is super smart in keeping the points real short , when he is leading he just starts going to net a lot more and that helps him shortening the matches.

    Its almost a given what he is able to accomplish at 37 wont again be repeated any time sooner.

    • You’re forgetting that Federer has a flawless and superior technique,he’s extremely gifted at all levels and playing a super agressive tennis,shortening the points by coming to the net isn’t reachable for everyone,you need lots of skill and talent and that’s why he’s playing at a very high level at 36.

  6. fedexal
    DECEMBER 29, 2017 AT 6:11 PM
    The way Fed goes about his fitness and schedule is an example for youngsters and big 3. Fed’s fitness is almost a given and very underrated part of his overall reign . Fed is super smart in keeping the points real short , when he is leading he just starts going to net a lot more and that helps him shortening the matches.

    _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    This is all a figment of your imagination. You are talking about a guy who never took a day off when he had mono, unless he didn’t actually have mono.

  7. Actually, Djoko is the one who’s rarely injured, not Fed.

    I remember Fed had his foot or leg injury in 2005, recurring back injuries in 2008, during Wimbledon 2012, in 2013 and now in 2017; and his knee injury during Wimbledon 2016.

    Djoko rarely got injured, minor niggles here and there yes, but not major ones until this elbow issue in 2016. His flexibility helps to prevent injuries and that may be the reason why he’s so successful and dominant for the past six years.

    Djoko is also smart in his scheduling, not playing more than 17 events a season, sometimes just 15 or 16 events.

    • Offthe the three Fed, Nole and Rafa, Rafa has the worst scheduling. Fed’s back injury in 2012 was not that bad, otherwise could not have won btb against Djoker and Murray in Wimbledon

  8. Fed is sensible about his scheduling ,and you can hardly blame him if he skips the French at his age.That said,I hope he plays at least two of the Masters on clay,esp Monte Carlo.

  9. Just heard Murray was a surprise at the Abu Dhabi,but got beat by RBA.His fitness is still in question…
    RBA.theres a dark horse..

  10. Fed looking like he did at the end of the season. Sometimes missing easy shots, not as good as he was at the start of 2017

  11. I’m not a troll, all I do is make predictions. I don’t swear, use insults, argue or anything like that. If we disagree it doesn’t mean I’m a troll

Comments are closed.

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