With the new tennis year up and rolling already, the sport’s fans have this week been given a chance to enjoy in the first rounds of battle at the first Grand Slam of the season – Australian Open.
And with one of the bookmakers’ top favourite and title holder Novak Djokovic already out of contention – after his sensational defeat to wildcard Denis Istomin – here is a look at on who might go out to win the tournament, both in men and women’s category.
Since world No 117 went on to knock out the defending champion Djokovic after a five-set thriller, thus ending the Serb’s hopes and chances of grabbing his seventh Australian open title, Andy Murray has stepped under the limelight as one of the biggest men favourites.
The Scott has enjoyed a fantastic run towards the end of the year 2016, which helped him reach the very top of the ATP ranking and grab a knighthood in his homeland as well.
His route to the final and hopefully the title began with an injury-scare win over teenage qualifier Andrey Rublev and the Australian Open five-time runner-up is hoping the year of 2017 could be one of his own. Murray is aware of the long and bumpy road ahead of him, which could potentially bring a mouth-watering clash with four-time champion Roger Federer as early as the quarter-final.
Rafael Nadal, Milos Raonic and Stan Wawrinka are also there, waiting for their chance to break inti the closing stages of the competition.
When talking about the ladies and the women tournament, there will be plenty of excitement surrounding the two standout names in Australia.
Having stunned Serena Williams to Australian Open 2016 title, Angelique Kerber will be hoping for a similar outcome this time around. The 2017 edition, however, started unexpectedly slow for World No 1 who struggled to brush off German compatriot Carina Witthoft. It is just the continuation of Kerber’s early struggles which started in Sydney earlier in January, showing that last year’s champion is vulnerable and susceptible to an upset.
On the other hand, Serena Williams charged her way into the third round of the competition with a clear-cut win over Lucie Safarova to display her dominance and stake claim on the title she feels was unjustly snatched from her last time out. The second-seeded American tennis player is aiming towards her seventh Melbourne title and a possible record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam title she is still waiting for.
Ultimately, an honourable mention in this Australian Open Preview goes to the outside youngster and a brave new tennis hope Alexander Zverev.
The 19-year-old tennis starlet is making his way up at the tournament having already dispatched Robin Haase and an American Frances Taifoe to put his NextGenATP charge to another great test Down Under.
Right-handed teenager had been eliminated in the first round of the tournament last year, but will rightfully hope to make a significantly bigger impression this time out as he keeps making waves as the 24th seed at Melbourne Park.