Federer, Nadal, Djokovic! Who’s Going To Win The Australian Open?
by Sean Randall | January 14th, 2018, 10:30 am
  • 56 Comments

If you don’t think tennis isn’t nutz, just go back a year when many so-called experts wondered if Roger Federer’s career was over after a lengthy recovery from knee surgery. Well, fast forward to today and at 36, improbably the Swiss is the healthiest guy in the game while his peers are all fighting injury, and some fighting for their career!

It’s incredible this sport. As I’ve said before, just when you think you have it figured out, you don’t! And that’s the problem going into this first Grand Slam of 2018.

Looking at the draw, it’s hard not to pick another Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal final. That’s the easy, obvious pick. We have it figured out! But it’s not going to happen. It just can’t, right?

So if not that, then what? To the draw, and to my picks…

Rafael Nadal Quarter
Rafa of course hasn’t played since his withdrawal from the ATP Finals two months ago, but as long as his right knee is OK, he’ll be fine in this section. In fact, even with a bum knee I think he could get through. Hell, he could do it right handed. Point is, this is one of the weakest sections in a Grand Slam draw you will see. There’s Burgos and Leo Mayer who are both clay courters, then his first seed would be Damir Dzumhur followed by John Isner, Alexandr Dolgopolov or Diego Schwartzman. Isner’s probably the pick, but if it gets hot he’s cooked. So Isner is a concern but the only two guys who should really worry Nadal are Borna Coric and The Dog. In best-of-3 yes, but not best-of-5. That is if Nadal is healthy. In the quarter I have to go with Marin Cilic. He’s a former Australian semifinalist and someone who also has a cush draw. Normally I’d give Cilic a shot, but the guy has just fallen apart since that Wimbledon final. But again, if Rafa feels anything in his knee, then that quarter is wide open for the taking. Though I’m taking…
The Pick: Rafael Nadal

Grigor Dimitrov Quarter
This quarter is one to file away and look back on in five years. Yes, there’s Grigor Dimitrov, US Open finalist Kevin Anderson and JW Tsonga, but what piques my interest are the young guys like Nick Kyrgios, Lucas Pouille, Yoshihito Nishioka, Andrey Rublev and Denis Shapovalov who faces Stefanos Tsitsipas. Among that crop, somebody (or bodies) is going to win some Slams. And maybe even this month. Kyrgios would be that guy and I like his draw enough to think he even takes out Tsonga who’s coming off a knee problem. But in the match I feel puts the winner in the final, he stumbles against Dimitrov and then the Bulgarian chops down Kevin Anderson. That said, I could see as many as six different guys getting through. And Dimitrov is 100% due for a letdown here after his big ATP Finals title.
The Pick: Grigor Dimitrov

Alexander Zverev Quarter
The third quarter is where we find our two damaged former champions, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka. Both haven’t played since Wimbledon and neither is going to add to their Australian Open trophy collection this week. In fact, they might not even finish the event. Ricardis Berankis is going to make Stan work on that knee – clearly Stan is not 100%. Djokovic isn’t fully fit either. His elbow is still screwed up and to compensate he’s now screwed up his serve (again). And if he can’t serve he can’t win this event. So, that leaves Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Gael Monfils or maybe Roberto Bautista Agut as my frontrunners in this section. Zverev just hasn’t impressed me in Slams and he hasn’t impressed me since the summer. But he’s due. RBA is solid but just doesn’t have the firepower to matter on a final weekend at a Slam and Monfils can’t be trusted. So I’m going to lean on Thiem for some inexplicable reason. It’s early in the year so he’s fairly fresh, he has a decent draw and he has the experience over Zverev. And while the courts may be slick, I think he can handle the heat and we know he’s fit. And being fit is part of doing well Down Under.
The Pick: Dominic Thiem

Roger Federer Quarter
With Milos Raonic, Tomas Berdych, Sam Querrey, Juan Martin Del Potro, Karen Khachanov, this is truly a big man section. And toss in Roger Federer, Richard Gasquet, David Goffin and youngsters Frances Tiafoe and Alex De Minaur, and the quarter becomes a powder keg. But Federer still has a decent draw, avoiding many of the landmines I mentioned early on. He’ll still have a Gasquet in the third, then maybe Lopez or Querrey in the fourth with Del Potro in a tasty quarter rematch from the US Open. Raonic is also lurking but I don’t think he’s up to par. Goffin, who has a great draw himself, could spoil Delpo’s return to Melbourne, but in the end I think we get the rematch and Roger has his revenge on the big man from Argentina.
The Pick: Roger Federer

Semifinals
Dimitrov d Nadal: Dimitrov somehow avenges loss from last year and denies Rafa that second Career Grand Slam.
Federer d Thiem: Federer keeps chugging along.

Finals
Federer d Dimitrov: Federer is beating Father Time.

My gut tells me Federer won’t win this. Nor Nadal. But among Dimitrov, Del Potro, Goffin, Kyrgios, Thiem, Zverev and Cilic, it’s tough to pick some else with any conviction. They all have flaws. Federer’s flaw is his age, and he keep overcoming that.

And the X-Factors are Djokovic and Wawrinka, and to some degree Nadal (though Rafa seems to be in good shape now). But I just don’t think Stan and Novak are going to be able to duplicate what Roger did last year. Obivously, they are hoping they can, and they are inspired by Federer, but there’s only one Federer…


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56 Comments for Federer, Nadal, Djokovic! Who’s Going To Win The Australian Open?

Willow Says:

My gut tells me Federer wont win this, then your saying Federer over Dimi in the final, Federer beats father time, doesnt make much sense ?


Raj Says:

Who else to pick? Fed is the favourite even after he retires..Such a sincere tennis-x base and team


Madmax Says:

I think everything is against Federer, as you said Sean, his draw is brutal.

Roger Federer Quarter
With Milos Raonic, Tomas Berdych, Sam Querrey, Juan Martin Del Potro, Karen Khachanov, this is truly a big man section. And toss in Roger Federer, Richard Gasquet, David Goffin and youngsters Frances Tiafoe and Alex De Minaur, and the quarter becomes a powder keg.

However, he has done it before, and no reason why he cannot do it again.

Go Roger!


RZ Says:

About 6 hours to go for picks to be submitted to the Racquet Bracket. Link to enter is here: https://www.tourneytopia.com/RacquetBracketAussieOpenATP/TennisXersAussieOpen2018/default.aspx


Okiegal Says:

I am watching the 2017 Aussie final right now and what great competitors these two are! Love watching this rivalry. I think Roger is clearly the favorite this year because I feel he is the healthiest……….


j-kath Says:

Sean says:

“But Federer still has a decent draw, avoiding many of the landmines I mentioned early on”.

Can’t find where he said it was brutal? Maybe another thread. Whatever, it’s the schedule that really influences results.


Wog Boy Says:

Brutal draw? What brutal draw?
36 years old has all the cripples (somebody already said that) in his half (yes including Nole), playing all the matches on super fast, low bouncing RLA evening slot, of course he is absolute favorite to win AO. He is going to win AO without dropping a set.


rognadfan Says:

There you go. They even rigged the court!


Wog Boy Says:

The court was “rigged” last year, where have you been last 12 months, under the glass bell? Even Craig Tiley had to admit it confroted with the facts.


skeezer Says:

Sniffers gonna be jealous anyway they can.

“The court was “rigged” last year, where have you been last 12 months, under the glass bell? Even Craig Tiley had to admit it confroted with it.”

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jan/27/australian-open-boss-roger-federer-not-getting-favours-with-faster-courts

Dilly dilly.


Wog Boy Says:

Of course he hasn’t admitted he deliberately sped up courts, but when confroted with the facts using hawk eye (Jim Courier showed it on channel 7) he tried to explain it with a fact that courts were laid one month earlier than usual and that might be the cause of the speed change, not just the courts but Wilson balls that AO IS USING ARE FASTER, besides, Australians don’t really have a word in anything at AO, Craig Tiley is not Australian, American company is laying the courts and so on.

Now read this and educate yourself Slimy:

http://www.espn.com.au/tennis/story/_/id/18570645/how-court-speed-played-role-extraordinary-australian-open-finals


Kimberly Says:

Game on! I cant wait for the matches to start.

Colin and I each submitted a bracket as did Colin’s friend Noah and his mother Valerie. All I know is I am expecting a lot of red on my bracket as this looks like one hard tournament to predict.


skeezer Says:

“Australian Open boss Craig Tiley ..”
Is Jimbo the boss of AO? Think not. Only Sniffers who is jealous of the GOAT thinks otherwise.


AndyMira Says:

@WB…U already know where’s Nole is going to play tomorrow?


Aussie Gal Says:

I hope some nextgen guy wins this AO. Although I adore the big 4, I think it is time for nextgen to take over. Imagine a 36 year old being the favorite! What does this say about the nextgen? If the big 4 continue to dominate I am going to switch to football. Not interested in a dying sport.


Aussie Gal Says:

I hope some nextgen guy wins this. Imagine a 36 year old being the favorite! What does this say about the nextgen? I adore the big 4 but if they continue to dominate then I am going to switch to some other sport. Who wants to watch a dying sport?


Aussie Gal Says:

I hope some nextgen guy wins this. Imagine a 36 year old being the favorite! What does this say about the nextgen? I adore the big 4 but if they continue to dominate then I am going to switch to some other sport. Who wants to watch a dying sport?


Wog Boy Says:

AM,

Thanks a lot, I got it (the ticket), as I thought, only the prime time and court for Nole… it was no room for six time champion on RLA, not even the day slot, instead they put him on MCA, day time, good job Craig. South African living in America scored the best job in Australia. It is still a mystery how that man got the job ten years ago besides so many better qualified Aussies.

BTW, I’ll be watching Rafa tonight, I’ll wave to you;)


el_matador Says:

the top half of the draw is depressingly medicore in quality..wish delpo landed in this half of the draw..hope he does not get knocked out by tiafoe in the 1st round at least..vamos!


el_matador Says:

the guy who was supposed to test rafa in 4th round gets knocked out in the 1st round..great win for ebden!


skeezer Says:

“top half of the draw is depressingly medicore in quality..”
Agree with you there.


Wog Boy Says:

Last year finalist, Venus, bombed out in straight sets.


Van Persie Says:

Just watching Ferrer vs. Rublev. Ferrer out?


Van Persie Says:

Agree 1 half of men’s draw hast the big names, but most of them injured or in bad shape: Nole, Stan, Thiem….Nadal’s half is more difficult. Zverev was never a problem for Rafa, so am sure he would have preferred the players from Federer’s half.

WB,

Nole on MA court tomorrow? Why I am not surprised…


Wog Boy Says:

VP,
Neither I.


Van Persie Says:

Cilic or Dimitrov are much more dangerous than Nole and Stan at the moment, I would say


Wog Boy Says:

Just watching Sock, he is fat, and I mean embarrassingly fat for tennis player, he is moving like a fat cat, slowly and wobbly.


Van Persie Says:

LOL WB, he looks like a running jell o :)


Van Persie Says:

Speaking of that, watched the scores at WTA.

Trayler Towsend got her bagel and went home :)
She should get her outfit from Mc Donald’s


AndyMira Says:

WB!….U got the ticket?Yesss!!…Btw…sorry about Nole & his usual treatment from the upper echelon in tennis..Urgh!..sadly,we’re already knew about this long time ago WB…and it will continue to happen to Nole no matter where he play in the future…USO,Wimby,French…One thing for sure tho,Nole won’t care one bit bout this..he’s already got used to this kind of thing,it only will motivate him to do much better..

Oh yeah WB..i would love to hear your thoughts bout Nole’s game & his new revamped serve tomorrow…Hope everything’s will go smoothly for Nole…and wish u will enjoy to see him play WB!

Oh!…Me & Okie will wave back to u too WB!


sisay Says:

I am eager to see what noles first compitative game after six months would turn out to be…eager as hell…


j-kath Says:

I’m not going to say “good luck, Nole” – I’m saying WIN and GRIN and when the camera moves away give them the Finger.


Margot Says:

And out goes Anderson. Bum. Thought the faster courts would suit him. And Isner out too. Another busted flush? Looks as if Pouille is following them.
Lordy was calling Sock “tubs” last year, must rename him, “Super size tubs” now.
Not surprised re Bencic, she is in fine form.


Daniel Says:

VP,

Don´t aghree ref Zvreve, He held MP agaisnt Nadla in their first match and mkissed a sitter volley than cracked.

Similar to Dimitrov, he started the HxH with Nadla playign him tough and we thought thetre would be some great matches. After a few close 3 seeters, all with Nadal winning than Dimi faded. Yeah, last year he pushed a NAdal (coming back fafter 3 motnhs off) to 5th set, but even so, the HxH is 10-1 to Nadal.

Cilcil hasn’t beat Nadla since 2009?!?!?! And some thing he is a treat…

Kyrgios has the better Hxh at 2-3 with a recent win in Cincy but he is not sure to play Nadal in semis. Remains to be see. As it is now, Nadal has the easiest draw he can possibly get to semis and we are not sure of Grigor/Nick will be there.


Daniel Says:

I have Dimi beating Nadal in semis, but only because I thought his knees will be a liability. let’s see next 3 rounds to see if he still is lingering or not.


Van Persie Says:

Daniel,

Yes, I really believe this Dimitrov and Cilic can be treats, he’s in a good shape and do not forget Rafa pulled out from the end of the season last year.
Ok, Zverev was dangerous at the beginning for Rafa, but I think Nick is much more of a treat for him, than Zverev.

And I really do not like this overreaction with Roger’s “half of death”…Really: Nole with his elbow, Stan after surgery and who beats Federer only on clay, I think?


Van Persie Says:

“I really believe this Dimitrov and Cilic can be treats, he’s in a good shape ” correction: they are in good shape

Cilic is slam winner and finalist at Wimbledon. Tell me one slam winner on Roger’s half, who is now in really good form.


Van Persie Says:

Both groups are pretty weak: Andy, Kei are missing, we have many injured…the competition is not the strongest at the moment , to be honnest


Van Persie Says:

I forgot, we have DelPo in Roger’s half…dangerous in early rounds, but I do not think this guy can win 7 matches in a row, after his opperation…hope he can Prove me wrong.


Daniel Says:

VP,

Delpo doesn’t need to win 7 matches, just beat Roger in QF as he did in USO last year. He was the only player to stop Fed in Slams last year and he is healthy.

Negatgive for him is that he usually don’t like condition in AO, but most likelly, if that QF happens it will be night match.

Agree that on form, this Dimi can be a treat to Nadal, but not Cilic. He is not on super form, just lost a set and was almost pushed to 5 (winning 4th set tiebreaker). He only rreach Wimby finals by default, same as Anderson.

Also agree, competion is not strong at the moment.

But my point is that the players on Fed’s side, even if they are not favorites to title due to form, injury they have way more pedigree than those on Nadal’s side and they only need 1 great match to knock a favorite as Federer out. Even Berdych can do this damage if he clicks for 1 match on Nadal side, there is only 3, either Cilic in QF if he gets there and Dimi/Kyrgios semis if they also get there.

Federer path is loaded from R16 onwards. Gasquet will not win, but can steal a set.


Daniel Says:

For example, The Grigor quarter has Nick, Tsonga and Shapovalov. If one or 2 of those wer ein Nadal path draw would be more balanced.

Fed has Zevrev, who beat him in finals last year (althoug Fed´s back was stiff) and is due for a deep run at a Slam at any moment, Raonic, Djoko, Thiem, Goffin, Wawa. Even on 1 leg they are better players than the ones Nadal will play until semis bar Cilic.


Van Persie Says:

Daniel,

I have watched the last 2 sets from Cilic vs Pospisil. Pospisil was not bad at all!
and it was only the 1 match, which is not the most concludent.
Have the feeling, we will have Cilic or Dimitrov in the final form Rafa’s group.


j-kath Says:

For what it’s worth, my crystal bowl indicates that Grigor should be at his prime right now (26) – but it declines to award him this GS. Re. Cilic – no longer at his prime – although he’s still under 30, he shows slippage. As for Del Potro…he gets exhausted too easily – he’ll only do well if he can avoid 5 setters en route to semis.


Van Persie Says:

Daniel,

Zverev beat Fed also in 2016 on grass, as far as I remember, but also am still sure, Fed has better chances against Zverev than against Nick. Nick would beat him in 5 sets.


Daniel Says:

Not so sure Nick would beat Fed in 5 sets, they never played five sets before. Yeah, Nick poses a treat to Fed bigger than Zverev due to recent matches.

But to Nadal don’t kwno who would be worst, who he’ld prefer to play. He never lost to Zverev, but IW 2016 Zverev had MP and last year AO he pusehd Nadal to 5 also.

A hot Kyrgios is someone none wants to play.


Sirius Says:

“Dimi can be a treat to Nadal”

who does not like treats??


Sirius Says:

“Dimi can be a treat to Nadal”

who does not like treats??


Van Persie Says:

^ treat, threat whatever…depends on how the match will end lol


Giles Says:

Daniel. For goodness sake. What’s with the typos? “ threat” instead of “ treat”.Two completely different meanings. Lol.


Van Persie Says:

^^ I did the mistake myself, was not sure about it anymore, was to lazy to check, I hoped Daniel knew better….lol

Daniel,
Try to be more carefull next time, please


Daniel Says:

C’mon Giles, just and “H”. Actually is even funnier to type wrong, makes you guys frown trying to understand it;-)

Just for fun, Sally Kirkman astrology picks Nadal with the best astrology, followed by Federer. Said Wawa and Djojko plagued by injury still.


Van Persie Says:

Daniel,

Who knows, Dimi might be a deep throat to Nadal :)

Am out now


Willow Says:

Daniel no offence but i find the typos quite funny ;-)

Anyway Okie / AndiMira was Nadal that good or was it just that his opponent was just so mediocre ….


Daniel Says:

Willow,

When I read them after I post (wonder why), I fell a bit embarrassed, but than I find them funny also. My fingers don’t follow my brain;-)

Hope for some great matches today. In a perfect world Djoko, Wawa, Raonic and Thiem would all win in straights. They are the ones lingering and the spoons they go of court the netter for them. If they start losing sets in R1, than is doomsday. DelPo, Fed, Zverev should all cruise. Curious about Berry form also.


AndyMira Says:

Hey Willow…For me yeah..Rafa was playing really good..hitting the ball so cleanly tho honestly i like it much better if he’s not rallying that much..FH BH FH BH till forever..he could kill it the game easier by blasting his FH DTL but i guess since he lack of match play before the Tourney so he just content to hit more balls just to sharpen his tennis…

All in all,it’s really good match practice with Burgos…But,tomorrow against Mayer is a very different match that’s for sure!

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