2011 was dominated by one man and Novak Djokovic appears to be just as strong as last year, with the world number one believing that his game can actually improve despite hitting new highs over the past twelve months that nobody else was able to match.
Things started to click into gear with a second triumph at Melbourne Park twelve months ago, three years after collecting his first Grand Slam title although the 24-year-old is mentally and physically stronger than the youthful Djokovic who would regularly struggle in five-set matches and often retire through injury.
It comes down to whether you are a backer or a layer of the 5/4 available at Ladbrokes (£50 free bets) and we fall into the backer category, especially as the Magic Sign will refund your losing bet if Andy Murray claims victory in a fortnight’s time.
The Brit has been drawn in the same half as Djokovic and it is perfectly plausible that Murray will compete in the semi-final against his old adversary. The fourth seed has a new coach in Ivan Lendl and is perhaps the likeliest winner aside from the world number one.
Naturally, people scoff when it comes to Murray’s chances of winning a Grand Slam, although he has reached the final of the past two Australian Opens as well as the 2008 US Open. Surely it’s a matter of time before he goes all the way.
Murray is a 5/1 chance (bet365 – £200 free betting) and perhaps the fact that he would play Djokovic in the semi-final is to his favour.
Rafael Nadal struggled with injury towards the end of 2011 and there are question marks over whether the Spaniard is 100% fit for the first Grand Slam of the season, although we should know better than to doubt his fighting qualities.
We are talking about a player who claimed this title in 2009 and has nine other Grand Slam triumphs in the bag, although six of them are French Open related. 7/1 is the biggest odds that you have been able to get about Nadal who is scheduled to meet Roger Federer in the semi-final.
Federer is a 4/1 chance and seems to be physically tip-top, although the legend of the game simply isn’t getting any better thanks to his 30 years. The world number three has not won a Grand Slam even since the 2012 Australian Open and he could be vulnerable to an early exit.
Other players with a lively outside chance include Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who reached the final of the 2008 Australian Open before losing to Djokovic. Juan Martin Del Potro is the other dangerous player.