2014 Men’s Australian Open Tennis Championship
Melbourne Park – Melbourne, Australia
Playing Surface: Rebound Ace (hard)
Sunday, January 12 – Sunday, January 26, 2014, TV: ESPN2, Tennis Channel
Three Time Defending Champion: Novak Djokovic
All odds courtesy of 5 Dimes Sportsbooks
The first grand slam event of the 2014 tennis season gets underway Sunday in the oppressive summer heat of Melbourne as the Australian Open starts. Since 2004, there have been 40 major tournaments. A quartet of some of the greatest players in history have won 39 of them, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray. Those four are still among the favorites, of course. Let’s take a look at those four and some of the other contenders with odds courtesy of 5 Dimes Sportsbooks. I will give both the odds to win the quarter of the draw (i.e. advance to to the semifinals) and to win the tournament.
Novak Djokovic (-675 quarter, -113 Australian Open)
Djokovic is 26 from Serbia. He is making his 2014 debut. He went 74-9 in 2013 with 7 titles, including his third straight Australian Open title. Djokovic hired German tennis legend Boris Becker as his coach in the off-season.
Djokovic has four Australian Open titles overall, and six grand slam titles total. He has made it to at least the semifinal of the last 14 majors. After winning the Australian Open, Djokovic lost in the semifinals at the French to Nadal, lost in the final at Wimbledon to Andy Murray, and in the final of the U.S. Open to Nadal. That would be a successful season for many players but it was considered a disappointment to not only Djokovic but many experts as well. He also lost his #1 world ranking to Nadal after the Wimbledon loss. Djokovic had been #1 every week since May 2012.
Djokovic is the #2 seed at the Australian Open. Seeded players in his section include #8 Stanislas Wawrinka, #28 Vasek Pospisil, #17 Tommy Robredo, #9 Richard Gasquet, #15 Fabio Fognini, #23 Ernests Gulbis, and #30 Dmitry Tursunov. Notable non-seeded players in the draw include Nicolas Mahut, Nikolay Davydenko, Sam Querrey and Marcos Baghdatis. Djokovic should breeze into the semifinals but Gasquet or Wawrinka could pose a challenge. Still if Djokovic drops more than a set before the semis, I would be surprised. Djokovic will likely face either Tomas Berdych or David Ferrer in the semifinals. He should make it to the finals for the fourth straight year.
Rafael Nadal (-135 quarter, +350 tournament)
Nadal is 27 from Spain. He is 5-0 in 2014 with a title at Doha. Nadal went 75-7 in 2013 with 10 titles. He won both the French and U.S. Open titles.
Nadal has 13 major titles, including 8 French Open titles. He won the Australian Open in 2009 for his only Melbourne title. He missed the event in 2013 as he was recovering from a stomach virus.
Nadal is the #1 seed at the Australian Open. Seeded players in his section include #25 Gael Monfils, #24 Andreas Seppi, #16 Kei Nishikori, #11 Milos Raonic, #22 Grigor Dimitrov, #27 Benoit Paire, and #5 Juan Martin Del Potro. Notable non-seeded players in the section include Benard Tomic, Jack Sock, Ryan Harrison, Lleyton Hewitt, Donald Young, and Benjamin Becker. Del Potro will pose a challenge in the quarters, but it will be a surprise if Nadal drops more than a set before then. The other section of this half of the draw is loaded with Murray, Federer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, John Isner, and Marin Cilic. Any of those would be a tough match-up for Nadal in the semifinals.
Andy Murray (+100 quarter, +1275 tournament)
Murray is 26 from Scotland. He is 1-1 in 2014 and was upset in the second round at Doha by Florian Mayer. Murray was 43-8 in 2013 with 4 titles, including his first Wimbledon Championship. He became the first British man to win Wimbledon since 1936.
Murray has two major titles overall. He has never won the Australian Open but has been the runner-up here in three of the last four years, including in 2013 to Djokovic.
Murray is the #4 seed at the Australian Open. As mentioned his section is loaded and is by far the most difficult section in the draw. Other seeded players include #26 Feliciano Lopez, #21 Phillipp Kohlschreiber, #13 Isner, #10 Tsonga, #18 Gilles Simon, #13 Fernando Verdasco, and #6 Federer. Notable non-seeded players include Radek Stepanek, Marin Cilic, and Wayne Odesnik. If Murray survives his section of the draw, which is a big if, then I think he has a good shot of beating Nadal in the semifinals, and perhaps even Djokovic in the final.
Juan Martin Del Potro (+250 quarter, +1275 tournament)
Del Potro is 25 from Argentina. He is 4-0 in 2014 with a win at Sydney. Del Potro went 51-16 in 2013 with 4 titles.
Del Potro won the 2009 U.S. Open for his only major title. He has never made it past the quarterfinals at the Australian Open. This could be his breakout year.
Del Potro is the #5 seed at the Australian Open. He is in Nadal’s section of the draw. Raonic could be tough in the fourth round if both make it that far.
Roger Federer (+275 quarter, +2750 tournament)
Federer is 32 from Switzerland. He is 3-1 in 2014 losing to Lleyton Hewitt in the final at Brisbane. He went 45-17 in 2013 with one title.
He has 17 major titles including 4 Australian Open titles, the last in 2010. Federer has lost in the semifinals here 3 straight years. He lost in the second round at Wimbledon and the fourth round at the U.S. Open. It broke an incredible streak for Federer of making at least the quarters of 36 straight majors. Sadly it appears Father Time is starting to catch up to the brilliant Federer, who is close to the twilight of his career.
Federer is in Murray’s section of the draw. I would love to see another showdown between the two in the quarterfinals, but Federe would have to get by Simon, Cilic or Tsonga in the fourth round.
Stanislas Wawrinka (+700 quarter, +5000 tournament)
Wawrinka is 28 from Switzerland. He is 4-0 in 2014 with a win in Chennai, India. Wawrinka went 51-23 in 2013 with one win.
Wawrinka made it to the semifinals of the U.S. open last year, the first time he ever advanced past the quarters at a slam event. he made it to the quarters of the 2011 Australian Open and lost in the fourth round last year.
Wawrinka is in Djokovic’s section of the draw. He will likely face Gasquet in the fourth round for the right to face Djokovic in the quarters.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (+425 quarter, +6000 tournament)
Tsonga is 28 from France. He is making his 2014 debut. Tsonga was 39-16 in 2013 with one title.
Tsonga has never won a major before, but was the runner up here in 2008. He lost in the quarters in 2013 at Melbourne.
Tsonga is in the Murray-Federer section. He might make it to the quarters, but I don’t know if he can beat Murray.
Tomas Berdych (+175 quarter, +6600 tournament)
Berdych is 28 from the Czech Republic. He is 0-1 in 2014 after losing in the first round at Doha. Berdych went 54-25 in 2013 with no titles.
Berdych has never won a major before. He was the runner up at Wimbledon in 2010. Berdych lost in the quarters at the Australian the last 3 years, but has never made it to the semifinals.
Berdych is the #7 seed. Other seeded players in his section include, #3 David Ferrer, #29 Jeremy Chardy,#20 Jerzy Janowicz, #14 Mikhail Youzhny, #12 Tommy Haas, #19 Kevin Anderson, and #32 Ivan Dodig. Notable non-seeded players include Ivo Karlovic, Florian Mayer, and Alexandr Dolgopolov. This section is wide open with no clear cut favorite.
David Ferrer (+225 quarter, +9000 tournament)
Ferrer is 31 from Spain. Ferrer is 3-2 in 2014 losing in the semis at Auckland and the second round at Doha. Ferrer was 60-24 in 2013 with 2 titles.
Ferrer has never won a major before. He has advanced to at least the quarters of the last 8 majors. Ferrer lost to Nadal in the final of the French Open, the first time Ferrer had ever advanced past the semis of a major. Ferrer has made to the semis at the Australian Open in 2 of the last 3 seasons, including last year.
Ferrer is in the Berdych section. Even though the section is challenging, I still think Ferrrer has a good shot to win the section and face Djokovic in the semifinals.
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