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Melbourne is one of the world’s great sporting cities. Amongst the huge sporting events it hosts are the AFL Grand Final, the Australian Grand Prix, international matches in all forms of cricket and rugby and the World Cup of Golf. Perhaps the biggest sporting event of all taking place in the Victorian capital is the Australian Open.
Taking place in January every year, the Australian Open gets tennis’ Grand Slam season underway and as such has a vital role to play in the tennis calendar. Thousands of tennis fans have already made their way to Melbourne Park before the tournament begins to cast their eye over the qualifying rounds but the action really gets underway on Monday the 14th.
Most of the biggest names in both the men’s and women’s game will be in attendance including the 2018 champions, Roger Federer and Caroline Wozniacki. They face an almighty battle to defend their titles against a combination of youth and experience in both draws so there is an excellent fortnight ahead.
Novak Djokovic 5/4 (bet365)
Roger Federer 11/2 (Unibet)
Rafael Nadal 8/1 (Paddy Power)
Alexander Zverev 8/1 (William Hill)
Marin Cilic 25/1 (Betfred)
Kei Nishikori 33/1 (Sportingbet)
Karen Khachanov 33/1 (bet365)
Andy Murray 40/1 (888Sport)
(Please note odds are correct at time of article publishing)
Roger Federer has long since been one of the most popular sportsmen in the world. The Swiss ace could have retired 10 years ago and still been in the argument for the best tennis players in the world but the fact that he is still competing at such a high level settles that argument for many.
Federer’s wins in the last two Australian Opens owed as much to his longevity and quality as his ability to get to grips the faster playing surfaces at Melbourne Park. Some even went as far as to suggest that the courts were sped up for Federer, a claim that the tournament organisers rejected out of hand last year. The fast courts are sure to suit Federer once again this year and he will doubtless make a run through to the latter stages but Novak Djokovic is the bookies’ favourite for very good reason.
2018 was arguably the best year in Djokovic’s career. It wasn’t his most successful but it very much marked his return to the pinnacle of tennis after years of struggle with injury and loss of form. Djokovic is hungrier than ever having tasted what it’s like to lose the ability to compete at the top level. He can justify his favouritsim to win his third Grand Slam in a row and his seventh Australian Open at 5/4 with bet365.
Serena Williams 9/2 (Ladbrokes)
Angelique Kerber 9/1 (Sportingbet)
Naomi Osaka 10/1 (bet365)
Simona Halep 11/1 (bet365)
Aryna Sabalenka 12/1 (Coral)
Elina Svitolina 14/1 (Betfred)
Karolina Pliskova 14/1 (Paddy Power)
Sloane Stephens 16/1 (Ladbrokes)
Australian tennis has had some real heroes and heroines over the years but Margaret Court stands alone. Her 24 Grand Slam victories (which included 11 Australian Open wins) is the most in the history of the game but Serena Williams is still working very hard on breaking that record at the age of 37. The American superstar was unable to win any of 2018’s Grand Slams following her return from maternity leave but is the firm favourite in the betting for the 2019 Australian Open.
Williams returned to action in the Hopman Cup after a lengthy break that stretched back to her controversial loss in the US Open and it’s all systems go in Melbourne but does she represent value at a best price of 9/2 with Ladbrokes? Women’s tennis has rarely, if ever, been as open as it is now so you can scroll a long way down the betting and find players with realistic chances of winning.
With such an open draw it makes sense to have a couple of options in the women’s draw. The first player to consider is Angelique Kerber. She put a horrible 2017 firmly behind her last year by winning at Wimbledon but the German is arguably a better player on hard courts than on grass. She won the Australian Open in 2016 and played some very good stuff in Sydney to get ready for Melbourne Park so looks well priced at 9/1 with Sportingbet.
The second player to back is the defending champion, Caroline Wozniacki, at a very generous 30/1 with Unibet. Finally getting over the line in a Grand Slam at last year’s tournament was a major positive for Wozniacki and although she has been hit with a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis she is still confident that her game is good enough to compete in the biggest events so has a real chance of defending her crown.
Novak Djokovic to win the men’s tournament at 5/4 with bet365
Angelique Kerber to win the women’s tournament at 9/1 with Sportingbet
Caroline Wozniacki to win the women’s tournament at 30/1 with Unibet