It’s 2018 And Roger Federer Is Still The Favorite To Win The Australian Open
by Sean Randall | January 9th, 2018, 11:29 pm
  • 91 Comments

A year after coming off a career-threatening knee injury, Roger Federer is remarkably now the healthiest guy among the big names on the circuit. Did anyone see that happening? I sure didn’t.

Truly incredible that at age 36, he’s still the man and still the favorite to win Grand Slams, including the 2018 Australian Open.

And while he’s healthy, Rafael Nadal is again a question mark with his knees. Novak Djokovic hasn’t played a match since Wimbledon due to his elbow. Stan Wawrinka is also coming off a long injury layoff, Kei Nishikori has a wonky wrist and who really knows when Andy Murray will be back after his hip surgery – I’m not so sure he makes it for Wimbledon.

So before the draw comes out in 36 hours or so, here’s a quick rundown of the top competitors:

1. Roger Federer
Granted it was an exo, but he didn’t disappoint at the Hopman Cup. And mano-a-mano, who’s really going to be favored to beat him besides possibly Rafa?

Maybe Juan Martin Del Potro, maybe if Djokovic finds his form. Could Grigor Dimitrov do it? Milos Raonic? Nick Kyrgios? So other than Rafa, about the only thing that I think could trip up Federer would be some sort of injury.

2. Rafael Nadal
If the knee is OK then he’ll be OK. But that’s a really, really big “if”. And we won’t know much more until he finally takes the court next week. And he’ll do so without Uncle Toni.

3. Grigor Dimitrov
With so many of the top players injured, Grigor took advantage last season, and I think he’ll continue to shine. Sadly, I still don’t think he’ll have enough to topple a Federer or Nadal in a big occasion, and with the spotlight hotter than ever, he’s that much more susceptible to an early letdown.

4. Novak Djokovic
I have to put him up here just in case he miraculously gets healthy – I just don’t think his elbow (and serve) will hold up to best-of-5. But even still, no matches and no best-of-5 matches since Wimbledon won’t do him any good. And I’m not so sure he even plays, and if he does will he even finish his match?

5. Alexander Zverev
When will he finally break through at a Slam? It’s a broken record but one we keep playing. I have to think this year he’ll finally make a QF, and she should go deeper. He just needs that big Slam match win to get over the hump. And when that happens, what out. Though like with Dimitrov, the pressure is ramped up for 2018 so expectations are high.

6. Juan Martin Del Potro
We haven’t heard much from the big guy, and after missing last year’s edition he comes into 2018 apparently healthy. So good news for Delpo fans and if the weather is mild – which is the forecast – that should bode well. He’s someone no one wants to play.

7. Stan Wawrinka
Like Djokovic, we don’t really know what to expect from Stan. But if his knee is feeling good he could easily do some damage at the place where he first came to prominence.

8. Nick Kyrgios
Could this be the year for Kyrgios? I don’t think Australia is his best Slam but given his recent form he should do well. He’ll have the home support and if he just get a decent draw he’ll be set.

Best of the rest:
Dominic Thiem – If the courts are playing slow Australia should be a good surface for the Austrian workhorse.
Marin Cilic – Former semifinalist, could certainly take advantage of all the injuries.
Milos Raonic – Another former semifinalist, though coming off injury and a shock loss in Brisbane doesn’t instill confidence.
Jack Sock – How will he follow up his best career year?
JW Tsonga – Another guy with a question mark in terms of health. Too bad. And not just that, does he have it anymore?
Gael Monfils – After a bad knee at the end of 2017, impresses with Doha title.
David Goffin – A dark horse threat perhaps? Surface should be good for him, I just don’t know about the heat.
Youngsters – Rublev, Shapovalov, De Minaur, Khachanov, Coric, Chung, Donaldson…Look for a few upsets from this group and maybe at least one in week 2.

So, unfortunately, the start of this season is already marred by injury, which is not a good sign for the rest of the year.

But all these injuries to many of the top guys means we’ll see some really interesting draws early in week one. At least we should – Federer-Djokovic first week!!!


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91 Comments for It’s 2018 And Roger Federer Is Still The Favorite To Win The Australian Open

Raj Says:

As usual, there will be favourite draw (qualifiers for first 2 or 3 rounds).. and favourite schedule..


AndyMira Says:

And favourite player play in a favourite time[evening/night] in a favourite court too…Thee he he…


Nits Says:

Federer
Dimitrov
Zverev
Nadal
My list of favourites


Nits Says:

Australian Open and US Open are the two open grand slam tournaments where there is chance for someone outside big four to win. French open is totally locked by Nadal.At Wimbledon Federer is a heavy favourite all the times. So with Djokovic injured this australian open is open in a sense. But a firing Federer has been very difficult to beat last year.So let’s see how it goes.


Willow Says:

Federers the favorite no question, and i think hes playing the best tennis out of everyone else at the moment ….


j-kath Says:

Andy Mira:

Yes! Oh Yes.


AndyMira Says:

@JK..Hehe..Yeah!…Can’t wait to see the draw and maybe will laugh some more tomorrow & for next 2 weeks…


FedExpress Says:

In Zverev’s part:

“and she should go deeper.”

Lolllllll


Daniel Says:

FedEx, was laughing when read that too, small typo or not?!

Agree, Fed is the heavy favorite. He was striking the ball great in Hopman cup and he played 2 current top ten. All aspects of his game were there, BH, FH, serve, volley, some retunr winner and playing very close to the baseline taking ball even earlier in the rise. HIs downside is at his age he can have one of those bad days any time. But on form he is the man to beat and if courts are as like last year, hot favorite.

On Djoko’s note, at leats he started with a victory in Kooyong againts Thiem over two sets, so he held up. Nadal otoh lost to Gasquet (who he hardly ever loses sets) in straights and was down 0-4 in second set before his usual comebacks, he was more rusty.

Tiebreak Tens won’t give us any insight on their form as it’s basically total different game.

So, looks like its certain now both Nadal and Djoko will play AO. And they reduce their schedule to not over play and be more fit.

With first roudn matches they can play themselves into form. Both played with pain before, so won’t expect them to be totally pain free in their injuries for AO.


Daniel Says:

https://www.tiebreaktens.com/melbourne-results/

Just saw Tiebreak Tens was completed already, Djoko lost to Hewitt, Nadal beat Hewitt close in semis and lost in finals to Berdych.

Tomorrow AO draw!


Willow Says:

I Doubt Rafa and Novak will lose too much sleep losing in exhos, its about getting matches under their belts, and the feel of the courts again ….


Van Persie Says:

AO draw tomorrow already? Nice
Looking forward to it, even if Djoko is not a fave , like I was used to in the last years. Who knows, maybe he will have a good run and will reach the 2 week of the tournament.


Daniel Says:

VP,

Federer and Sharapova will join the draw ceremony tomorrow 7 pm local time.


Willow Says:

Novak said for now im in the AO, strange that he said for now, does that mean his expectations are not too high then ?, and please people no personal attacks as we are all entitled to an opinion, i was just curious by his statement thats all ….


j-kath Says:

Willow: Draw is 8.00am. UK time…..don’t splutter your morning coffee (or maybe it’s tea).

AM: First the draw…..then the scheduling..inshallah etc.


lylenubbins Says:

Joker beating Thiem badly was interesting . . . I hear he altered his service motion to make it more compact.

Rafa is my favorite player but I give him 0% chance of winning due to knee/rust. He requires lots of playing time to hit his groove.

Agree Fed heavy favorite

Darkhorse is Kygrios, unbeatable when “on.”


Willow Says:

J-Kath lol thanks for the info, i will be up early to watch it, and definitely coffee my dear ;-)


Willow Says:

Lylenubbins apparantly DT is still recovering from some virus though ….


Daniel Says:

I am very curious to see if either Fedal get Wawa (9), Delpo (12) or Djoko (14) in R16. Usually the top 2 gets R16 players ranked below 12, so either one of them getting Djoko is betwwe 25 to 50% chance.

Last year Murray as #1 got Poullie #16 and Djoko #2 got #15 Grigor. So both top players got last 2 R16 spots. If this year keeps this trend they both avoid him.


Daniel Says:

Tsonga may still be a question mark due to wrist injury, if he pulls off Kyrgios gets #16 and potential danger for Fedal.


StarvingActor Says:

JMDP. Court speed should help him a lot.
Kyrgios
Fed/Nadal – I think it’s a toss up as to who will do better of these 2


Van Persie Says:

Thank you for the info, Daniel,

I understand, why Sharapova is there, Serena is absent and Maria is a former champion


Daniel Says:

Ref Sharapova, Think so VP. They probably wanted star power in woman side with Serena and Virka out. And she is a former champion still playing, with more fans then Kerber, who is also a former champion.


Van Persie Says:

yep, like it or not Sharapova is “a brand” in tennis and only career grand slam winner in the field.


wilfried Says:

@Daniel January 10th, 2018 at 10:47 am
Fedal can’t get Wawrinka in R16, because applying the ATP Rulebook, Seeds 1 to 4 do have to play against a player of seeds 13 to 16 in R16 (if those players survive the former rounds).


lylenubbins Says:

@Willow, yes I watched highlights . . . Thiem played badly, tons of groundstroke errors. So virus makes sense.


RZ Says:

I mostly agree with Sean’s order.
Once the draw is out, I’ll set up the Racquet Bracket and send the link around for those who want to play.


Emilia Says:

J-Kath: thanks for filling me in on sports sirgeons the
The other day!

Van Persie: although Fed is the favourite, I would like
to believe in miracles! Ik hoop dat jij weet
wat ik bedoel…


Emilia Says:

Surgeons not ‘sirgeons’


RZ Says:

@Daniel and VP – also Kerber is playing a tournament this week, so even if they wanted her for the draw (as the most recent champ playing this year), she wouldn’t be available. If they wanted a former champ for the draw, Sharapova is the only remaining choice. She’s also the most recent runner-up in the draw.


Humble Rafa Says:

Just like WTF..you know, in form, best of the lot, etc.

Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. Sometimes coffin rises up to punch you in the face and goes back in the coffin.


j-kath Says:

Emilia: U R Welcome.


Daniel Says:

Thanks wilfried,

So, Djoko as #14 Fed has a 1/4 chance of playing him in R16 and so does Nadal. Meaning Djoko has a 50% chance of drawing either Fed or Nadal in R16.

Delpo as #12 avoid one of them untill QF and saw a picture of Tsonga in Melbourne already, seems he will play. Kyrgios will be #17 seed.


Chris Ford Says:

Shame Andy needed more hip surgery and now is sketchy for the French Open.
Djokovic is looking like he is on the road to being his dangerous old self again. He hasn’t played Fed in a while and Roger is a fine, fat target in any comeback effort Novak commits to.


Tennis Stud Says:

It is a tough task for the young guns like Shapovalav, Cheung to take the big names out in a 5 set grandslam match. Established names like Federer,delpo, Dimitrov have better chances this Australian Open. Djokovic, Nadal – depends on how fit they are with their injuries.


j-kath Says:

Humble Rafa:

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. Sometimes coffin rises up to punch you in the face and goes back in the coffin”.

Dear Boy, what on earth are you talking about?


Wog Boy Says:

“Truly incredible that at age 36, he’s still the man and still the favorite to win Grand Slams, ..”

Not really Sean, medicine has advanced, very soon you will be able to play competitive tennis well in your forties, the peple are living longer and getting old later, just fifty years ago world life expectancy was 48 years, now is 71, in developed countries even better…and Switzerland is very developed country, particularly Basel…


Willow Says:

J-Kath ive never understood HRs SOH so your not the only one , always has had me baffled ….


Willow Says:

Andy was targetting the grass court season for a return to tennis anyway not clay ….


Wog Boy Says:

^^^ just look at recent pictures of Greg Norman, he is 62, looks better than most 30 years old guys, he said it’s all natural and everyone can look like him, sure Greg, with couple of hundreds of millions dollars I would be able to look even better:

https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/www.golfdigest.com/story/good-luck-getting-this-nude-photo-of-greg-norman-out-of-your-head/amp


Wog Boy Says:

^^^ that was addition to my previous comment


j-kath Says:

Chris Ford: Luv your optimism – i.e. Andy sketchy for FO!!!!
Maybe for 2019.


Wog Boy Says:

I am ready to bet my house that 36 years old will play RG this year if Rafa is not 100% and his injury doesn’t go away, he doesn’t look 100% now, Nole won’t be 100%, Andy won’t even play it.


Doug Says:

Roger is prohibitive favorite to win AO w/o dropping a set.


skeezer Says:

Novak all the way.👍


J.S. Says:

OMG!!! Here we go again, it get’s old! You’d think RF pays all your bills……Can’t we enjoy the game without going overboard thinking someone you don’t know is GOD??

Another year, same cult!


gonzalowski Says:

Good draw for Rafa,
it’d be Victor Estrella / L. Mayer/ Coric/ Isner

Cilic / Dimitrov / Final (Fedal?)


Lion23 Says:

Nadal will take revanche against Federer.
What I don’t like is that the media takes every player’s injury announcement for sure. Several 6 or 22 months outs of top players appear more than akward. Djokovic had severe mental problems through marital disputes – I dont believe in his elbow story. Nadal will have no knee problem at all the next two weeks.


Van Persie Says:

Now I will say Federer is the favorite for the AO.
All the actual “cripples” in his half. Rafa has a tougher half, I would say


Van Persie Says:

Fed is fave for this AO, but he will not win this AO, neither will Rafa.
My money on a new champion this year.


gonzalowski Says:

VP lol Fed it’d be
Bedene, Struff, Raonic, JMDP,
Zverev/Nole, Thiem, (Fedal)


Willow Says:

IMO Novak will go deep but will lose to Federer, would love another Fedal final, but i have a feeling we might have a new GS champion this year ….


Van Persie Says:

I really hope, Nole will make it to the second week, but still have many doubts. Should Nole play against Roger,my money on Nole.


Willow Says:

If he goes deep, then you have to assume that the wrist is OK, Delpo, Kyrigios, Zverev, Goffin are the dark horses for me ….


Willow Says:

Gonzo do you think we will get another Fedal final ?


gonzalowski Says:

Hm well by chances… I give it 33% let’s say ??


gonzalowski Says:

perhaps Rafa is more likely to fall, given the moment of form of one and another, although in the first week has time to take the form, as he likes.
Roger can have more difficult matches, although if he is at the level of the end of the 2017 season …
what do you think?


van orten Says:

just hope this doesnt turn out like the us open draw! the fast court will make it open, so i dont really care where djoker , kyrgios or others ended up.


Willow Says:

Gonzo if the knees OK, and he goes deep i like his chances, Federer looks to be playing the best tennis of everybody, i think Novak goes deep but i dont see him winning the title ….


Wog Boy Says:

Who against is De Minaur playing? You can lough, but who ever he is playing against he’ll give him run for his money.
He is absolute gem, at 18 years playing like he has 500 matches in his legs, such a maturity, movement like speedy Gonzales, amazing ROS, construction of the points, stamina, offense/ defense … you name it. He is up set and a break against Lopez.


gonzalowski Says:

De Minaur on Delpo, and then Goffin quartet


Wog Boy Says:

^^ whose quoter he is in?


Van Persie Says:

^^ Rafa’s half,

Hi WB,

I have only seen that match against Harrison last week, and was really oimpressed.

I have also looked at the scores during this week, being at work, and saw he was doing great.

Am planning do keep my “home office” days , for when Djoko will play :)


Wog Boy Says:

Thanks Gonza, don’t be surprised if he does well against Delpo, he enjoys pace, so far what I have seen in Brisbane and Sydney, he only struggles with off pace balls.


Van Persie Says:

Atually I made a mistake, De MInaur is on Roger’s half. 1st round against Berdych


Wog Boy Says:

VP,
Thanks, I have seen him last year, then haven’t heard anything about him, but can’t believe how much he advanced in this last 12 months. He just blew me away, don’t remember that happening to me since Nole. I am dead tired, but I cannot stop watching him, I was supposed to go tonight to watch bit decided to stay at home watch him on TV, now I regret it. If he makes it through I will go tomorrow, it is MUST.


gonzalowski Says:

Ah ok, De Minaur is playing right now QF Sidney, against Feliciano, won the 1st, he’s winning the 2nd


Wog Boy Says:

Yeap, he is serving for the match and I just bought online ticket for tomorrow night SF, hope he’ll not stuff up now:)


Van Persie Says:

WB,

Enjoy the match tomorrow. I understand he will play against Paire.


Wog Boy Says:

Yessss, second SF, Brisbane and Sydney, just check the players he beat in these two tournaments, wow just wow.


Wog Boy Says:

Thanks VP, yes and I like Paire too, not just because of his tennis, but his personality, couldn’t ask for better players for friday night out:))


Mridul Says:

I have a feeling that Hole will win his 7 the Aussie open in a few days time and announce his homecoming in the tennis circuit.


skeezer Says:

@4:46am
Agree on that prediction. Wouldn’t be surprised if a new champ is crowned this year.
—-
Laugher that some are saying an old man is the Fav this year at AO. Either the competition has dropped or this guy is just that good. Either way it shows the GOAT’s impact on the game…….still.


Willow Says:

Well RF is playing the best tennis …..still lol


Van Persie Says:

^^ agree with the above, he really does it, when the others best’s are out of form


skeezer Says:

If Novak can follow Fed in coming back to form after a long layoff he could do some damage. Not like he hasn’t won this thing before. Rafa has a great draw, and seems at this point to have no issues. He is worlds #1, seeded #1, and imo is the fav to win this. Stiil, like VP, gut tells me this tourney is also primed for a new hero.


Tennis Magic Says:

Expect a changing of the guard and a new AO winner this year. Novak’s elbow is still an issue and Rafa needs too many matches to get it going, which he hasn’t had. Roger is the only one holding the fort here but he is really old for a tennis player. This era of Nadal and Djokovic is so damn weak. These two clowns can’t even contain an oldie with on leg in the grave! Can these two even imagine playing pro level at 36? ….. http://www.138mph.com/tennis-federers-and-wawrinkas-game-as-compared-to-djokovics-and-nadals/


RZ Says:

The Racquet Bracket has been set up! Link is https://www.tourneytopia.com/RacquetBracketAussieOpenATP/TennisXersAussieOpen2018. Entries must be made by Sunday, January 14, 2018 at 7pm Eastern Standard Time (I believe that is midnight in Greenwich Mean Time)


Wog Boy Says:

Tennis Magic,

Are you the one who kept telling us time and time again during WTF that 36 years old will win WTF without losing a set…then he got his ass kicked by Goffin…then you disappeared?


Chris Ford Says:

skeezer Says:

“Without Nole we would had a long Roger-Rafa hegemony in this Golden ERA”
Uh? The Golden ERA IS Fedal. When Fedal is done, who ya got? These two have made the ERA.

==============================
You will never eradicate the history telling this last 15 years as the “Big 4 Era” in favor of the “Fedal Era”. Novak and Andy forced the name change.


Willow Says:

Fedal are still and always will be the biggest draw in tennis, the most marketed two players choose what, Novak and Andy are part of this era of the big 4, but they are still behind the other two in the pecking order terms ….


Madmax Says:

Chris Ford,

What’s your point?

Heard of the Big Four? Guess not.


Willow Says:

Madmax are you going to take part in RZs bracket challenge, the more the merrier ?


Madmax Says:

Willow, I am. I have until Midnight, so will give it some though. :-)

And you?


Madmax Says:

Mridul Says:
I have a feeling that Hole will win his 7 the Aussie open in a few days time and announce his homecoming in the tennis circuit.

January 11th, 2018 at 7:51 am

Whose Hole?


Willow Says:

Whose Hole lol ?


Willow Says:

Madmax sorry i cant stop laughing whos Hole ?, anyway bracket all done Lalaland ….


Madmax Says:

I am assuming said person meant Nole, but I agree. It does sound funny! :-)


Willow Says:

Madmax what i found funny was you saying whos Hole, and now youve started me off again, hubby keeps asking me what im sniggering at lol ?


HugoPorta Says:

Well Federer has a rigged draw playing only night matches while Sasha Zerez gets all the daytime heat. At least on the other side of the draw the top two seeds have alternated day and night. Not Federer’s side of the draw. Unfair advantage no doubt.

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