So itís finally here, the first Grand Slam of 2015, the 103rd Australian Open. Gruss Software takes a look at the favourites to win the competition, including those who have gone under the radar and will be quietly confident with their chances of lifting the title at Melbourne Park.
Last yearís shocking final in which Stan Wawrinka (ranked 8) beat Rafael Nadal was a real test for the big fourís dominance of the game.
Although the qualifying rounds started yesterday, the competitionís first round commences on Monday 19th January, with the final taking place on Sunday 1st February.
After the Swissí title win in 2014, there has been talk of those who could break into the gameís top four and the big fourís dominance coming to an end. This could well be the same again this year.
With 41 Grandslam wins between them, 9 coming in the Australian Open, we take a look at the worldís top 5 and the favourites to lift the Australian Open Menís Singles Championship and receive the A$3,000,000 prize money.
We start with the Serbian Djokovic, the world number 1 who has been given the top seed for the competition. With 4 of his 7 Grandslams coming in the Australian Open, he has had success in this tournament including 3 consecutive wins. Despite a disappointing start this year after his exit in the quarter finals of the Qatar Open in Doha, he is still the favourite to lift the title on Sunday 1st February.
Whatís more is there to say about Roger? At age 33 heís one of the oldest players competing in the tournament but that doesnít rule him out just yet. He holds the record for the most Grandslam wins with 17. Aforementioned, he holds the tournament record of 4 wins along with his Serbian counterpart Djokovic. Heís in form too, recently winning the Brisbane International, gaining his 1,000th ATP Tour win in the process.
The King of Clay, Rafa Nadal has only won this championship once. Most of his 14 Grandslam titles has come in the French Open, however he has made the last two Australian Open finals.
Last week, although he won the doubles competition with Juan Monaco, the Spanish star suffered a shock loss to Germanyís Michael Berrer who was ranked 127 in first round. If he is to go far in this competition he will need to stay injury-free.
The man from Scotland, has won 2 Grandslam titles (US Open and Wimbledon) but has never won the Australian Open, although he has been runner up an unlucky 3 times. Currently ranked 6th in the world rankings, he has been seeded 5th for the 2015 Australian Open. Since his 2013 Wimbledon triumph he hasnít looked his best due to recent back surgery.
And finally we have Stan Wawrinka, the defending champion from Switzerland. Seeded 4th for the tournament, he faces a tough task in defending his title. After his 2014 Australian Open win, we expected more from the man from Switzerland. A semi-finalist of the 2013 US Open, the triumph in last yearís tournament is the first Grandslam he has won. He has started 2015 well by winning the Chennai Open.
Ones to watch
Where the game was dominated by the big 4 of Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and Murray, we are now seeing younger players coming to the fore. Here are some of those who could cause a shock.
Where once the game was dominated by the big 4: Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and Murray, we are now beginning to see a trend of younger players coming to the fore. Here are some to watch out for this year:
Ranked 11th in the world, Grigor Dimitrov from Bulgaria has been seeded 10th for the Australian Open. Winner of the Boys' Singles titles at the 2008 Wimbledon Championships and the 2008 US Open, his biggest achievement is reaching the Menís Wimbledon semi-finals in 2014.
2014 was a successful year for Canadian, Milos Raonic. He managed to reach the quarter finals of the French Open and the semi-finals of Wimbledon. The furthest he has progressed in the Australian Open is to the 4th round, though heíll be looking to change that this time around.
Last year Kei Nishikori became the runner up in last yearís US Open and the first male player from Asia to reach a Grandslam final. After managing to achieve a ranking of World No.5 in just one year, Nishikori is definitely one to watch out for.
Playing in his home country, Australian Nick Kyrgios could go far with the crowd behind him. Although he is ranked 50th, he beat Rafa Nadal at Wimbledon 2014, reaching the quarter finals. He is a former winner of the Boys' Singles event at the 2013 Australian Open and could go far in this competition with the home crowd behind him.
Juan Martin del Potro
The Australian Open sees the return of Juan Martin del Potro, after being out of the game with a wrist injury for 10 months. Due to his absence, he has slipped to rank No.338 with his highest rank being 4th in the world just over 5 years ago. Looking to impress, the former US Open champion has reached the quarter finals of the Australian Open on two occasions.