With Rafa Nadal missing again, there’s little surprise to see the current world no.1 as a clear favourite for victory at the Australian Open with the tennis bookmakers.
Novak Djokovic is currently available at around 5/4. For me, he’s an obvious favourite and I like the odds, however they shouldn’t change much in the first week, so it could be worth hanging on until the Serb has safely negotiated his way through the opening rounds – it’ll also give you a chance to take a look at the form of some of his nearest contenders.
Until we see the draw and work out which half’s players will benefit from the absence of Nadal, it’s not quite so easy to predict which outsiders have the best chances of making it to the latter stages.
Although Jo-Wilfried Tsonga did reach his first Grand Slam final here, he doesn’t tend to start the season well and odds of 40/1 may look very tempting but do not really appeal to me for the Frenchman.
SportingBet are currently offering 66/1 for Tomas Berdych to win the event, and whilst the Czech may traditionally be a slow starter too, he reached the semis of the US Open last September and is capable of beating all of the top names on his day. Berdych doesn’t have a big chance to win this event, although he is one of the small number of players who could, however an each-way bet on the Czech would pay out if he can just make the final and that looks like fantastic value to me.
100/1 are the best odds I can find on Paris Masters finalist, Jerzy Janowicz winning this event but if he can bring that awesome serve and ever-growing confidence to Melbourne, we could well see quite a story unfold for the Pole. He’ll need to work hard to come through the early rounds and with so much more suddenly expected of him; he may struggle to cope with the pressure. Nonetheless, Janowicz is without doubt one of the brightest young prospects in the game right now and a small each-way bet could definitely keep you on the edge of your seat into the second week.
I was fairly pleased to see Victoria Azarenka pull out of her semi-final encounter with Serena Williams in Brisbane on Friday because I fancy this pairing could possibly serve up the best match of the women’s event in Melbourne. For the two to have met in Brisbane just days ahead of the start of the main event, would have diluted the prospect of a showdown in the Aussie Open final, which considering the drama and tension which unfolded in the US Open final last September, could really be a treat this time around too.
Serena is a very short priced 5/4 to win the event again, so with Victoria Azarenka coming in at a much more backable 4/1, there’s no question that the real value in this market is with the impressive young Belarusian.
It’s not so long since Caroline Wozniacki was enjoying an extended spell at the top of the world rankings, without ever managing to win a Grand Slam. In those days she could be backed for an event like this one at around 4/1, so the 50/1 on offer this time around looks very tempting indeed. Wozniacki will be back at some point in the coming years and for me she will eventually claim one of the majors. At 50/1 I think it’s well worth chancing your arm on this being that time, and maybe taking the Dane on each-way terms.
Top Value Bets
Jerzy Janowicz to win the Australian Open (each-way) – Stan James – 100/1
Victoria Azarenka to win the Australian Open – Ladbrokes – 4/1
Caroline Wozniacki to win the Australian Open (each-way) – BetVictor – 50/1Good luck with all of those tennis picks!