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Roger Federer is the overwhelming favourite for the 2018 Australian Open, with the Swiss superstar in with a chance of making history at Melbourne Park.
Federer’s win at the event a year ago was his fifth Australian Open title and only two men – the great Roy Emerson and former world number one Novak Djokovic – have won six.
With Djokovic struggling to prove his fitness as he enters the latter stages of his career, the path appears to be clear for Federer to continue the Indian summer he is enjoying.
Where to Bet on the Australian Open Online
Federer beat Rafael Nadal in the 2017 Australian Open and a repeat meeting between those two great old rivals remains a possibility.
Nadal, the current world number one, is the top seed for the tournament as a result, with Federer seeded second and placed at the opposite end of the draw.
Other big names are absent. Andy Murray had hoped to be fit but the Scot had to pull out due to needing surgery on a longstanding hip injury. Whether or not the British number one can return to the top of the sport remains to be seen. Japan’s Kei Nishikori was another late withdrawal.
It all seems to point to Federer being the man to beat, but who else could be in the running? We will discuss all that and more, but first let’s compare the odds being offered for each of the top players by the world’s best tennis bookmakers. Also note that you can see part two of this 2-part series for an in-depth preview over on the women’s side.
2018 Australian Open Betting Odds
We’ll be looking at the odds from ComeOn, William Hill and Betsson for this year’s Australian Open. These three sites are reliable when it comes to offering odds that are generous and paying quickly when bets are won. We will only be looking at the top-20 players, but you can follow the link at the bottom of any column to visit that betting site view odds on the entire field.
|Juan Martin Del Potro||16/1||16/1||16/1|
|Roberto Bautista Agut||66/1||66/1||69/1|
|Alex De Minaur||125/1||150/1||149/1|
Federer a Big Favourite for Sixth Australian Open Crown
It is hard to argue with Federer being clear at the top of the odds for the Australian Open, with the Swiss priced up at around the 2/1 mark to defend his title.
Unlike Nadal and Djokovic, Federer has been able to stay reasonably clear of injuries in recent months, so he should be able to stay the course during the first major of the year.
Federer is arguably fitter now than he has ever been before and he certainly has the experience to win at Melbourne Park. His draw also looks to be quite straightforward, with Aljaz Bedene first up before a potential second round meeting with Jan-Lennard Struff.
The 36-year-old could then face Richard Gasquet in the third round, with Milos Raonic likely to be Federer’s first major test. Federer would back himself to come through that match given the thrashing he doled out to the Canadian in the Wimbledon quarter-final last year.
Federer himself argues that he should not be the favourite due to his advanced age, but it feels like he is trying to manage expectations as much as anything.
“I play down my chances just because I don’t think a 36-year-old should be a favourite of a tournament,” he said. “It should not be the case. That’s why I see things more relaxed at a later stage of my career,”
However, the fact Federer could only name Djokovic and Nadal as the other major contenders – with both having huge doubts over their fitness – was a sign of his dominance of the sport.
Can the Old Guard Rise Again?
Nadal had a brilliant 2017, returning to the number one world ranking he so cherishes, partly as a result of Federer’s determination to restrict the number of events he plays to protect his body.
The Spaniard has been struggling with a knee injury but seemed to be in good shape as he brushed Victor Estrella Burgos aside in the first round by a crushing 6-1 6-1 6-1 scoreline.
But the gulf in class between the pair was clear and Nadal will be expected to have to work a lot harder in the matches to come at Melbourne Park. Next up is the dangerous Leonardo Mayer and Nadal’s third round opponent could be the exciting 24th seed Diego Schwartzman.
Marin Cilic is in Nadal’s quarter but the world number one will back himself to get to at least the semi-finals if his troublesome knee holds out. Nadal can be backed at around the 4/1 mark.
Despite questions over his fitness record, Djokovic is third favourite at 7/1, which is perhaps a sign that the next generation are not quite ready to push through and compete for honours.
The Serbian has barely hit a ball for six months due to an elbow problem and he has had to make changes to his serve in order to return to competitive action here.
Djokovic is always a threat if he is fully fit but the suspicion is he is going to struggle to return to the top of the sport. As he has been seeded 14, Djokovic will not have as easy a path as he is used to, with Donald Young a potentially stern test in the first round. It is hard to back him.
Zverev Leads Pretenders to Federer’s Throne
Alexander Zverev did not justify the hype at major tournaments in 2017 and the German will have to be better if he is to maintain his mark as the best young talent on the tour.
Zverev is yet to go deep into a major tournament and a price of 16/1 reflects the fact he perhaps lacks the necessary experience of big matches to go all the way in Australia.
A kind early draw has been given to the fourth seed, however, with brother Mischa potentially awaiting in the third round. Then Zverev is on collision course to meet Djokovic in round four and this is why it is just too difficult to side with him at this stage. Should Zverev come through a clash with Djokovic and reach the quarter-finals, his odds will soon collapse as well. He remains one for the future, for now at least.
Grigor Dimitrov emerged as the best of the rest towards the end of last season, the Bulgarian winning his first Masters title to leap up to a career-high of third in the world rankings.
Already through to the second round after a straight sets win first up, Dimitrov faces Mackenzie McDonald next and could meet Nick Kyrgios in the fourth round. Dimitrov’s price of 10/1 makes him the fourth favourite and he looks to prove decent value.
Having won in Brisbane to warm up for his home major, Kyrgios provides a lot of interest at the 12/1 mark. But the Australian has been complaining about a knee injury and there are still far too many question marks over his mental strength to back him to win a major title.
Dominic Thiem is the fifth seed but can be backed at 50/1. The Austrian’s form collapsed in the second half of last season and he is in the same quarter as Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka, explaining why he is offered at such large odds.
Wawrinka is another big star who has struggled for fitness and he is also at the 50/1 mark, along with the likes of Raonic and Roberto Bautista-Agut.
Australian Open Men’s Best Bets
Although he protests against his favourite status, Federer is certainly the man to beat. And while it is always possible that he gets caught on a bad day and knocked out early, there do not look to be too many dangerous threats in his section of the draw.
There is no doubt that 7/4 is a very short price for a 36-year-old to win a major tournament, but hunt around and odds of close to 2/1 may be available. That would be worth taking, although Juan Martin del Potro, who beat Federer at the US Open last year, may awaits in the quarter.
That Nadal and Djokovic remain the main contenders in the odds is a clear indication that the next generation are simply not ready to challenge the remaining members of the Big Four. Djokovic at 7/1 will tempt some fans, as if he shows anything like his best form his odds will come down extremely quickly.
But Cilic could be an interesting proposition at 33/1. On his day the Croatian can beat just about anyone and an early exit for Nadal would really open up the draw in his favour.
Kyrgios may be worth backing at 12/1 too. He has already won this year and is at his home grand slam. If he is going to prove himself as a major champion, this is the place to do it.