Bookies pick Roger Federer as favorite to win Australian Open

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With the much-awaited Australian Open draw was finally revealed on Thursday and bookies have placed World no. 2 Roger Federer as the favourite to defend his title. Federer is followed by World No.1 Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, both of whom have come to the tournament with injury concerns.

The Swiss ace has started 2018 on a positive note as he looked more dominant than ever in his Hopman Cup campaign, where he won all his matches to lead his nation to the title after 17 years. However, the road is far from easy for him to defend his title successfully and to win the Australian Open for a record-equalling sixth time. Federer, who has been handed odds of 2/1, will have to potentially overcome the likes of giant-killer Juan Martin del Potro, former World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, or emerging star Alexander Zverev, and 2014 winner Stan Wawrinka. Injury concerns for Nadal and Djokovic and the absences of Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori could, however, make things easier for him.     

Nadal sits as the second favourite to win the season-opening Grand Slam with odds of 9/2. He has been drawn against Dominican Victor Estrella Burgos. Though he wouldn’t have much to worry about competitors from his own section, unlike Federer, U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic could be a potential last-eight opponent. Apart from that, the World No.1 has been battling with his right knee injury that forced to pull out of Paris Masters and ATP Finals last year and prevented him from participating in the Brisbane International this year, which remains his biggest worry.

Djokovic fans have been waiting with baited breath for his return and the fourteenth seed, who has won the title six times previously, is the third favourite to win the Australian Open according to the bookies who have given him odds of 11/1. He has been pitted against America’s Donald Young in the first-round with the possibility of a duel with France’s Gael Monfils looming large in the second round itself. Staying away from the court for most of the last season with a right elbow injury, the Serbian ace has admitted that he is not his usual self just yet and a win would surely create waves on the international circuit. The former World No. 1 was eyeing to defend back-to-back titles in Doha after he last appeared at Wimbledon, however, was forced to continue his rehab as his elbow problem persisted.

The fourth favourite to win the title is Grigor Dimitrov with odds of 11/1. The third seed will have to play a qualifier if the draw goes to seeding and would face America’s Jack Sock in the last eight. The Bulgarian has failed to start the year on a winning note after going down against Nick Kyrgios in the Brisbane International, after ending last season with the ATP finals win.

Local favourite Nick Kyrgios, who is also Australia's sole men's seed, is the fifth favourite to win the title this time with astonishing odds of 16/1. The controversial tennis ace takes on Brazilian Rogerio Dutra Silva in the first round and could face French 15th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the next round. No one in international tennis can doubt the 22-year-old’s talent, who is one of just two players, apart from Lleyton Hewitt, to defeat Nadal, Federer and Djokovic in their first ATP Head2Head meetings. He started 2018 with a crushing 6-4, 6-2 win against Ryan Harrison to claim his fourth ATP World Tour in the Brisbane International. However, he has never won a title at home and his inconsistency also remains a big issue.

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