The wait is over for tennis fans around the globe as the world’s greatest talent gathers at Melbourne Park for the much anticipated first Grand Slam of the season, the Australian Open.
In what is expected to be trying conditions in the heat of Melbourne, the questions that bode before the first serve is delivered on the 19th of January are, come the final weekend, who will be the last men and women standing in Rod Laver Arena, battling it out for the coveted Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup, and will you be in the running for a big payday for any bets you placed?
With Federer, Djokovic, Nadal, Williams and Sharapova, amongst others, providing the on-court entertainment, online betting exchange WBX will provide you the opportunity of taking on your own opponent, with peer to peer bets and live betting available on every match.
The Men's Draw
World number one, Novak Djokovic sits top of the seeds, followed by 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer, last year’s runner-up and 2009 champion Rafa Nadal and defending champion Stan Wawrinka, however don’t for one minute think the winner couldn’t come from the remaining top ten-seeds in Kei Nishikori, Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych, Milos Raonic, David Ferrer and Grigor Dimitrov, all of whom are capable of getting down to the last four following which anything can happen, as seen last year when eighth-seed Stan Wawrinka stunned Nadal to lift his first Grand Slam.
Considering form and past success at Melbourne Park, one expects to see Djokovic and Federer to take centre stage yet again, in a rivalry that sees the Swiss maestro hold the edge 18-17 in tournament play, although on the hard-courts it sits at 13-wins apiece.
Last season they met on six-occasions with three-wins each, although in the season ending showpiece, the World Tour Finals, Federer was forced to withdraw ahead of the much anticipated final due to a back injury.
Novak Djokovic is firm favourite with WBX at 11/10, and rightly so when you consider he has one of the best Australian Open records in the modern era.
The Serbian superstar has a perfect 4-0 record in the final at Melbourne and when you take into account that he has reached the championship match on no less than 11 of the last 16 Grand Slams, (winning 6 of them), I wouldn’t bet against him nailing down another final appearance at Rod Laver Arena.
The 27-year old enjoyed a stellar 2014 season under the guidance of former world number one Boris Becker, winning seven titles, including four Masters Series events, the World Tour Finals and a second Wimbledon title.
This is the year that Djokovic has stressed he wants to win the calendar Grand Slam, (to hold all four Slams in the same season) and a fifth title in Melbourne, will see him edge closer to Australian legend Roy Emerson’s record of six Australian Open wins, which was achieved during the amateur era.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion continues to defy age. Just over 18 months ago the 33-year old had dropped down to eighth in the world rankings and with Djokovic, Nadal and Murray getting a stranglehold on the game, it appeared the Swiss great was finally coming to the end of a remarkable career.
However a defiant Federer is determined to leave the game on his own terms. A change of racket and the sublime acquisition of Stefan Edberg into his coaching setup, coupled with an injury free run, have seen the most recognised sports star on the planet, back to his best.
During the 2014 campaign, Federer reached 11 finals, winning five titles, his best return since 2007 and judging by his early 2015 form which saw him clinch the Brisbane International, (his 1000th career win) following a tight three-set win over Milos Raonic, it is clear to see that Federer’s resurgence looks set to continue as he goes in search of a fifth Australian Open crown.
With this in mind and at a price of 100/16 with WBX, Federer looks a very interesting proposition.
Well, what can be said of the injury prone Spaniard, other than the fact that you write him off at your own peril. The number three-seed is third favourite with WBX at 10-1, rather enticing when you take into account the fact that he has won 14-Grand Slam’s from 20-final appearances.
Sure nine of those victories have come on the red dirt of Roland Garros, however he is still a force on the hard-courts with his powerful baseline play and his incredible ability to turn defence into attack, underlined by his two US Open and one Australian Open titles, not to mention an additional 13-ATP titles on the same surface.
Adding to this, tennis fans all know that Nadal would have lifted the title last year had he not sustained a back injury during the final with Wawrinka.
Despite lifting winning in 2009 and reaching the final in Melbourne on a further two occasions, Nadal will always remember the first Slam of the year as the place where many of his injuries came about, something I am sure he hopes will not be the case again this year, as occurred in 2006, 2010, 2011 and 2013.
Despite missing almost three months of the 2014 season, Nadal still managed to keep up the winning habit with four titles.
Even more poignantly, let’s not forget what happened the last time he spent a long period out of the game in 2012. He came back after six months out and enjoyed one of the greatest years in tennis, winning 10 titles from 14 final appearances, including a second US Open triumph.
Well, I suppose one has to begin with the defending champion Stan Wawrinka at a price of 100/7 with WBX. 2014 promised so much with wins in Chennai, Australia and then the Monte-Carlo Masters, however inconsistency plagued him throughout the second half of the season to such an extent, that he only managed a semi-final at Queens and then three further quarter-final appearances in 12-events.
Another win in Chennai to begin his 2015 campaign, should give the Swiss some confidence as he looks to defend his title.
Andy Murray could be a serious dark horse at 9/1 at WBX. Many might think that grass is his best surface, however his record on the hard-courts suggests otherwise.
He first announced himself as one to watch for the future, when he claimed the US Open junior title in 2004 and when you consider he has been a losing finalist at Melbourne Park on three-occasions, one might be tempted to believe his time will come Down Under.
For much of 2014 Murray struggled to find the form we had become accustomed to seeing, however three-consecutive ATP wins at the end of the season in China, Austria and Spain, will give the Scot some much needed confidence coming into the new season.
Finally it would be criminal to move on without mentioning the potential threat of big serving Canadian, Milos Raonic.
WBX has Raonic at 33/1, which is worth having a look at.
All six of his ATP titles have come on the hard-courts, which is mainly down to the fact that, when firing on all cylinders, his serve is quite simply unstoppable. Something I am sure Federer will vouch for, following his loss to the Canadian in the semi-finals of the Paris Masters towards the end of last year.
Federer got his revenge barely a week ago when he got the better of Raonic in the final of the Brisbane International with a tight three-set victory. Despite losing, the Canadian showcased his immense serve and the telling threat that he will pose over the next two weeks in Melbourne.
WBX welcomes new members with up to £25 in free bets. With competitive odds and live betting on every match, plus the ability to back or lay bets and lock in profits, WBX is an excellent place to make your winning Australian Open bets.
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