Poll: Who’s Your Early 2016 Australian Open Favorite? Can Anyone Beat Novak Djokovic?

by Staff | January 12th, 2016, 10:26 am

The Australian Open begins Sunday night in Melbourne. Before the draw comes out on Thursday night Eastern time, who’s your favorite to win the title? Or is Novak Djokovic too good, too strong right now for anyone else to win?

Australian Open Top 8 Seeds:
1 Novak Djokovic
2 Andy Murray
3 Roger Federer
4 Stan Wawrinka
5 Rafael Nadal
6 Tomas Berdych
7 Kei Nishikori
8 David Ferrer

Bodog Sports Australian Open Men’s Odds to Win:
Novak Djokovic -150
Andy Murray +500
Roger Federer +700
Rafael Nadal +800
Stan Wawrinka +1200
Kei Nishikori +2000
Marin Cilic +3300
Tomas Berdych +4000
Milos Raonic +2800

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94 Comments for Poll: Who’s Your Early 2016 Australian Open Favorite? Can Anyone Beat Novak Djokovic?

Humble Rafa Says:

They should just cancel the Australian open to preserve some players’s self respect and dignity.

Giles Says:

Sure he can be beaten. He said he’s not invincible as recently as a few days ago.

joeg Says:

Andy Murray #2? The guy is a joke and should not be considered elite.

There is no such thing as the Big Four. Never was. This era is only about Fed, Nadal, & Djokovich.

Andy had a nice couple wins on the big stage, but the guy lacks the gumption and mental toughness to hang with the real elite 3.

Djokovich was always a ticking timebomb for a long time. It was just wait & see until he had one of those meltdowns and lost his game. Though he still has his fiery moments, he never implodes like he used to. Add to that the fact he can attack from anywhere on the court and can easily turn a defensive shot into a sharp angled whipping crosscourt, he’s the complete package.

Murray’s got talent, but he doesn’t have a killer shot. His game is so friggin boring. No aggression. Most of the time getting the ball back to the middle of the court. Wait & see. Then react. I wouldn’t really even consider him a counter-puncher. Dude’s game is just boring as hell.

When Stanimal beat Djokovich in the FO, he was hitting hard-flat-deep on almost every strike. He dictated play early & often. No matter how good you are, it’s very challenging to always play on the back foot. Soderling did the same to Rafa at the FO. Hard-flat-deep balls. Just going for broke and keeping the other dude reeling.

If Murray could man-up and play with some balls, I’d have more respect for him. I think he has the components for an all around game. He just needs more aggression and assertiveness. His passive play just puts me to sleep. It’s a damn shame because he ain’t no spring chicken. His window is closing fast esp. with Djoker’s form of late. If I were him, I’d just go for broke. It ain’t like Djoker’s gonna lay down. He has absolutely no chance to win if he plays his status quo.

I’d luv to see Rafa ease off his OCD-fueled spinfest. He’s got an amazing hard-flat-deep down-the-line forehand. The dumbest part of his game is when he reverts back to his safety net and spins the ball to the middle of the court … only to land at the service line. It’s just too enticing for Djokovich, who just winds up and pounces down on those high bouncing balls. Unlike Fed, Djokovich almost seems more effective when the ball bounces higher (esp. on his backhand).

If anyone’s gonna beat Djokovich in 2016, they’ve got to hit deep shots. Anything short or even more than 3 feet from the baseline just welcomes Djokovich to dictate play. No one has a chance unless they’re aiming for the lines. Sure, that invites more unforced errors, but what the hell else are you gonna do? Play your usual game and get thumped 1-2 like he did against Rafa recently. The only chance to beat Djokovich is hard-flat-deep. Make him stretch and bend low and maybe you get him to loft something up to put away.

Nature takes its course and old-man time catches up to all, but I’d hate to see Rafa & Fed fade away in this form. Fed’s consistency is absolutely stunning, and maybe he still has the game to beat Djokovich. But, Rafa really needs to step away from his OCD habits. Such unreal effort goes into his game. I’d just luv to see him stop relying on spin and fine tune his game more towards ball placement. Deep placement. That’s what Djokovich does so consistenly well. It’s just hard to mount an offensive when the ball consistenly lands so deep into the baseline.

Hopefully 2016 doesn’t turn into Djokovich domination. Boring as hell. If Rafa or Wawrinka could keep the FO once again out of his reach, it would make for a compelling year. Djokovich will win AO. Maybe he struggles in the FO. Maybe he has bad luck in Wimbledon. Then he finishes in his usual fine form and takes the USO. It all hinges on the FO, imo. Olympics is a pick’em. 3 set matches don’t count for much in my book. I suppose it is the Olympics, but what’s makes the typical 3-set WTA “Grand Slam” any different from all the other 3-set WTA tournies? Calling a 3-set win a “Grand Slam” is a joke in its own right.

Pamela Says:

I am shocked they put Murray before Federer, considering Federer has beaten him almost every time since the Olympics and Wimbledon. very surprised. Joeg – enjoyed reading your post!

Pamela Says:

Joeg – Don’t you think Roger is in the conversation at all? I certainly do. he can beat Murray, he can beat Rafa and he is one of the only ones who beat Novak last year. Unfortunately, none of them were slams.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Djokovic is not just the favourite. It is almost difficult to imagine someone beating him here.

I think that Wawrinka, Murray and Fed have the off-chance to beat Novak, and if one of them can beat him before the finals, Rafa could be the man who beat the man who beat the man. So all of that will come down to the draw. If Rafa is on Novak’s side, I would take him out of the equation.

Of the other three, Wawrinka has shown he can beat Novak in a slam in 2015. Fed has beaten Novak in several smaller tournaments. Murray put up a tremendous fight in a losing effort at the French.

So, to me, Wawrinka is the first threat, then Fed, then Murray, and Rafa is the dark horse if someone else takes Novak out. I don’t think the dark horses go beyond that list.

JoAnn West Says:

I have many Favorites in Tennis but who wins? Novak every time. Its not fun any more. very boring. JoAnn

Giles Says:

joeg. I have no idea who your fave is but I must say I enjoyed your post.

joeg Says:

Pamela Says:
Joeg – Don’t you think Roger is in the conversation at all? I certainly do …

Certainly, I absolutely agree Fed is in the conversation. It’s completely unreal to think a 34 year old living legend is still in strong form and challenging for titles. I hope he can be a massive thorn in Djoker’s side. That would actually be great for the sport.

The thing that impresses me most about Fed is his willingness to adjust his game. Partly due to age (and the physical changes that come with), but I would also assert partly due to the competition. It takes guts to change a winning formula.

He’s one of the very few to even consider serve & volley (a completely lost art in this era or baseline bombers). I like his penchant to shorten points and be more aggressive. He still has that gorgeous forehand and amazing accuracy on his 1st serve. The backhand is what it is. As long as he doesn’t have Nadal’s forehand kicking up above his left shoulder, his backhand is good enough. He’s got great hands at the net.

Djokovich is a tough nut to crack though. When you watch his play, he always seems to play at a very consistent pace. When he needs to pack a punch, he’ll crush the ball from either side. Yet, he’ll maintain a certain level of pace to constantly pressure the opponent (from anywhere on the court), then carefully take it up a notch when necessary. Rarely do you ever see him over do it. It’s just a rare combination of control, accuracy, and power (as needed).

How the heck do you beat a guy playing like this? It kinda reminds me of John McEnroe complaining that playing against Lendl was like playing against a “robot.” I really don’t care who it is, I just want someone to step up and consistenly challenge this guy. It would’ve been unreal to have Fed, Rafa, & Djoker playing at peak levels simultaneously. We got a glimpse of it in Fed & Rafa’s epic Wimbledon final. Maybe even Rafa & Djoker’s epic AO final. Imagine if that were the standard to expect in every Grand Slam. That would’ve been glorious to witness. For now, I just want the sport to be competitive once again.

Travis Bickle Says:

I’ll second “JoAnn West” and “joeg” and “Pamela” in stating that tennis is very boring these days!
And the reason is simple – this guy Jokowitch wins too much.

Some of you will jump on me and say how come I didn’t find tennis boring back in 2006 when Federer won everything or in 2010 when Nadal was dominating. I’ll be honest – for some reason it wasn’t boring then, heck I enjoyed it even.
For some reason, only when Jokowitch dominates I find tennis boring. Also it is a bit painful as well, since every time he plays I cheer with passion against him and almost always he wins and I end up disappointed and bitter and sad – and how come he doesn’t get some long-term injury… why is he taking such good care of his body… why such dedication to sport …

Sorry for revealing my emotion and going all sappy and personal and Gypsy Gal-ish on you here, but I have to offload what is weighing heavily on my mind last year or so. In future, instead of admitting I am full of hate and I suffer badly every time Jokowitch wins, I will simply comment that tennis is boring since that statement technically doesn’t reveal me as a hater (which I truly am). However, I will continue to watch him play and hope he loses, but in unfortunate case he wins, continue to post everywhere how I find tennis boring, and so on…

Chrisford1 Says:

Murray a joke? I don’t think so. He is by stats, the 2nd best tennis player in the world, based on 2015 results.
The Big 4 exists because while Andy is the junior partner, no one else is close to being as good in the #5 and below spots. Fed and NOle place Andy in their league.
Yes, Stan and Cilic have had success, but never on the consistent basis of Andy making the QFS and above. With apologies to Fred Perry, Murray is the best Brit player ever. He ended droughts of near 80 years for Davis Cup and Wimbledon. Won the gold medal at the OLympics, and the silver in mixed doubles as well. Another win at the USO. Numerous RUPs. A very impressive pile of Masters 1000 wins. Good chance to one day get a WTF title, even have a career Slam.
Andy is a 1st ballot Hall of Famer.
Could he do more?
Sure, and disgruntled “NOLE should be perfect” fans think Nole let them down and should have had 20 Slams by now and had 3 Grand Slams…
Some people, the ones basically that don’t spend an hour pounding through soft sand training until every muscle is screaming – have no idea what it is like to face Djokovic or Fed or prime Rafa – have the gall to call Andy Murray a “loser”. Or Djokovic a “disappointment, should have done more…”.

While I am a Nole fan, I have hopes for Andy to have some more stellar moments. But I am still rooting for Djokovic to win everything big in 2016, naturally.
Down the road, I want Andy to have some weeks as #1. Because just as Andy was the best player never to win a Slam back in early 2012, Andy is now the best player never to have had a week as #1.

Okiegal Says:

Wow, joeg and Travis Bickle, tell us howyou really feel!! LOL

joeg, great post!!

Margot Says:

Andy has earned his No2 ranking or did the other players, feeling so sorry for him, lose a few matches so he hoik himself up on their shoulders?
After op I think he fell down to No 10. But hey Joeg and Pamela don’t give him any credit, just give him a completely undeserved kicking, why don’t you?

RZ Says:

@joeg – the Big 4 moniker was never only about winning slams and came about before Murray ever won a slam. The Big 4 were named that due to the consistency of Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, and Murray being the last 4 guys at the majority of big tournaments (slams and masters 1000), and basically monopolizing Masters 1000 tournaments.

Chrisford1 Says:

Yep Travis, it seems that all the people that claim they would love to see someone get a Grand Slam like Laver did, if you believe them, would be out of their mind bored if some player dominated enough to do just that.
They might contemplate sticking their heads in a gas oven due to unbearable boredom even if it is just a Nole Slam, 4 in a row,
How these people survived the weak era when Fed ruled all is a mystery to me.

joeg Says:

@Chrisford1, @Margot, @RZ — Point(s) taken … but I’m just sharing my gut reaction. I see your points, but my position stands. Personally, I don’t consider Murray deserving of the Fed/Rafa/Djoko class. It’s not just about Grand Slams and win totals. I just don’t think he’s there yet.

I’m critical of Murray because I see so much potential, and I do think he has the game to challenge & win. However, he lacks a killer instinct. He lacks fire. He lacks that the mental edge. You see it in his facial expressions and body language. In his cringes and unabashed screaming at himself. Do what you need to release that angst, but I don’t see him bouncing back from it and moving on. Djokovich used to always melt down given time, but he doesn’t do that anymore. He’ll still scream at his box, but then he gets back on horse and resumes whoopin-dat-A. His game was always there, but whatever he changed mentally is what put him over the top.

I’m not a fan of milk toast tennis. I’m not a big fan of marathon baseline play, but it is rather satisfying to witness – esp. when you can finally exhale at the end of a point. What I do like is controlled aggression. Play smart & fast. It’s the most efficient way to play. You wanna just hang around with Djokovich and expect him to make a mistake? Ain’t gonna happen. Gotta extend him somehow. Make him uncomfortable. He can’t be superhuman all the time, can he? All I care about right now is how do you beat a “perfect” playing Djokovich?

If Murray can do this, then God bless him. God save the Queen. But, I just don’t see it happening until he straps some balls on and starts playing more aggressively. His relent shot is that safe little slap where the ball ends up in the middle of the court. It’s the same thing Rafa does only without the spin. In my opinion, it’s such a wasted and dangerous shot. You just can’t gift a Djoker with the chance to dictate play.

Think of all the losses Rafa’s experienced in Wimbledon in recent years. The guy across the net is playing like he has nothing to lose. Just going for broke. Unfortunately, that’s the only way I think you can beat Djokovich right now. You can’t hang around expecting him to make mistakes. Domination in interesting, but the novelty wears off quickly. I just want to watch high quality tennis from both sides of the net.

Gypsy Gal Says:

Whats wrong with fans wanting a year to be open and well contested,it doesnt make a poster a hater because they say that,maybe people see tennis beyond one particular player,and are fans of the game as a whole,rather than been just a fan of the man whomever that might be,sure it was fantastic when Federer was dominating for a while,same with Rafa,now Nole,we are all human and have an element of prejudice,so lets not kid ourselves otherwise….

Dave Says:

I really don’t see Andy as part of a big 4 either anymore. I don’t anyone will be surprised if Stan wins a 3rd grand slam before Andy does. Than what will people say? I agree that masters 1000’s count for something, but everyone knows that the players and most tennis analysts go by career majors before anything else. If Stan ends up winning a 3rd major before Andy does, they should put him in the big 4 instead for the fact that, that would be 3 years in a row winning a major, or include him as some big 5 member. It’s only fair to Stan. Even though Stan says he doesn’t care about that or isn’t in that conversation. Stan who isn’t looking for any credit, deserves just as much as Andy at this point.

Dave Says:

I doubt anyone will be surprised

tennismonger Says:

Every now and then a great player emerges to expose glitches in the ATP ranking system…

In 2015/2016, Andy Murray is that player ;-)

elina Says:

If pamela wants Roger ahead of Murray because of the head to head, she must want Nadal ahead of Roger.

Chrisford1 Says:

Dave – I really don’t see Andy as part of a big 4 either anymore. I don’t anyone will be surprised if Stan wins a 3rd grand slam before Andy does. Than what will people say?


They will say this, Dave:
Andy 24 Slams QF or better, Stan 11 QFS or better.
Andy 11 Masters 1000 titles. STan 1
Andy 5 ATP 500 event titles, STan 2
Andy 16 ATP 250 titles, Stan 4.
Same title record at Slams, Davis Cup, and Andy has the singles gold at the Olympic.

Who has a much better record, even if Stan has another major in the future, is pretty clear. Andy. Easy call.

J-Kath Says:

Gosh guys you are all right, magnificent reading from most of you, Truly! but especially Margot…

Dave Says:

Chrisford1. Using another example: Nole is on pace to absolutely shatter the masters 1000 all-time record. Even if he ends up with double the masters 1000’s than Federer, if he ends up with less majors, he won’t be a clear greatest of all-time. Majors hold so much more weight. If Stan wins a 3rd major and Andy is stuck on 2 that puts Stan at least equal in a lot of peoples eyes. It’s all just opinions. But, It’s fun to talk about.

mat4 Says:

Murray was very unlucky with his career. By his talent, his game, he belongs to the “big four”. I still see him as a contender in all the tournaments he takes part. At this moment, he probably is the only player that has a real chance to beat Novak on any surface, any given day, while Stan is helpless on fast hard and on low bouncing surfaces.

mat4 Says:


LOL. You should really should post more often.

AndyMira Says:

To Joeg,totally agree with your assessment..any player who seriously wants to challenge novak must go for broke..there is no other way..i hope very much that rafa for once will thinking out of box or should i say out of his OCD..if he to meet novak,don’t play his usual safe games,forehand to backhand countless times like he did to roger..it didn’t work with novak..unleash the forehand and backhand down the line more often..make him running like a rabbit..that’ll make him unbalanced..i actually a little disapointed with rafa’s game..he’s older now..he can’t run like he’s used to..so why not change a game a little bit..didn’t he realize that he can’t win with these type of game anymore?especially now when other player is not afraid of him..even a lesser player out of top 100 can trouble him easily..let alone novak..that’s why the scoreline 61 62 happened in Doha..he’s not confident because there is nothing in his game that can make him confident when he’s on court..there is nothing new in his game to make him believe he can beat novak..but with all his flaws and weakness i still hope he can reach semi at least..that will give him a big boost..

Okiegal Says:

I want to clarify which post of joeg I thought was good……post @3:07

jane Says:

^ as opposed to the one where he calls andy’s game boring and novak’s winning boring, okie? ;)

AndyMira Says:

To Travis bickle @ 3.16..i laughed a little bit when i read your post..”since everytime he plays,i cheers with passion against him and always he wins i end up disappointed and bitter and sad”,that’s my sentiment exactly and i also don’t understand why his body can sustain from any injury all this years..that’s not fair at all..i think that’s why he can dominate the tour since 2011 because he never got a serious injury..easy to say he never lost momentum when he don’t have to stop for a couple of months and nursed his injury like other player..like i said it’s not fair..

jane Says:

i suspect it’s called good genetics, good stretching and good physio and training. his yoga practices have to be part of his lack of injury, imo. others have thought that growing up skiing helped strengthen his ankles.

it’s worth noting that he has, in fact, had some minor injuries on his neck, back and wrist all on his right side, possibly related to serving. he also had all that time between 2006-2010 when he had breathing issues until he went gluten-free, which helped tremendously. the heat still seems to get to him sometimes though.

as for travis bickle, i assume you know he was being sarcastic; he’s really a “jokowitch” fan! ;)

Lodhi Says:

Just wondering if we have Pamela Anderson in the house ? What an honor. Big fan of Bay Watch, and it had all to do with Pamela Anderson (I couldn’t care less about David Hasselhoff).

Okiegal Says:

@Jane…..You’re on it girlie!! LOL I am bad to forget what I just read while scrolling…..I just seem to remember what I want to respond to. I read them again and thinks to myself “Self, you better lick your calf over and tell the folks for sure which post you thought was great”…..lol

jane Says:

ewww, please don’t lick your calf okie. :P

Okiegal Says:

Jane…….That is an old saying I heard from my parents…..probably known only to us Okies! It is gross…..

Margot Says:

All I can say is, I don’t think you have been watching Andy play lately.One match at Hopman 20/21 net points won.
You are forgiven…..this time….;)

Okiegal Says:

Thanks, Margot….Andy is #2 on my list….and I did not agree with that comment…..

Chrisford1 Says:

Dave, it is a fast changing sport, and even 30 years ago, the Australian Open was considered an avoidable event due to long travel and low prize money.

Players, many to great regret, dismissed the Olympics as a minor sideshow compared to majors, and skipped going. McEnroe berates himself on this when the Olympics come around. The WTF is getting bigger and bigger and the money and the 1500 ATP points possible make it now just a little below a Slam in potential rewards.

And remember that the Slams are a monopoly of 3, and more recently 4 1st World nations with the acceptance of the AO as a 4th – in a global context that the share of global GNP and power is shrinking for those 4 nations. So money is going into Doha, Dubai, Indian Wells, the Shanghai Masters. Players can make far more money doing exhos and getting endorsements by winning enough Masters, 500, 250 events or the woman’s analogue – than Slam prize money. (But endorsements are really helped by winning a SLam, getting an OLympic medal – only one needed to set the financial magic in motion – Obvious when you see the change in Roddicks or Ana Ivanovic’s fortunes from winning just 1 Slam

Just a simplistic “SLAM count” as the only determinant factor in considering “greatness” is well on it’s way out with the rise of money and prestige of events – certain Masters 1000s, the YEC, the Olympics, Davis Cup poised to return to being as big as any Slam. Also because getting better and better means of measuring an athlete’s value to a team or organization – accurate career and future assessment modeling determines contract values, ELOs. And the same tools can be applied to careers. OR with the rise in fantasy sports and the seriousness players in that take it, the value of teams and players selected is based on sophisticated algorithms.

Huge money in play demands that assessments more and more need to be accurate and objective.

Gypsy Gal Says:

Mat4 are you not talking to me anymore,i sent you an apology and got no reply,sorry if i offended you in some way?….

Gypsy Gal Says:

Im not really sure why Travis Bickle dragged me into his post with the sly dig at the end there?….

Gypsy Gal Says:

Agree with Dave,I dont think it would be fair to say Novaks greater than Roger as he has significantly less GS,whichever way you slice it that is what carries the most weight,pundits,players past and present have all said it,i doubt Sampras would care as Ben once said that Murray and Andre has more Masters than he does?….

Michael Says:

Obviously Novak will be the Champion and if he loses it will be a shattering earth quake. I do not think right now anybody has the wherewithal to challenge his hegemony. To compound the misery, the creamy top is totally out of shape with Andy terribly out of form, Roger not in the best health and pretty aged and Rafa looking terribly jaded and wilts when he is up against Novak. Outside the creamy layer, you have Wawarinka who can definitely beat any player on his day. But it is a big “IF” he is able to attain that kind of a form to dismantle Novak from his high terrain. Nishikori, Tsonga, Raonic, Ferrer, Berdych etc. etc., doesn’t inspire any confidence that they will pose a formidable challenge to Novak.

All said and done, it is Novak’s tournament to win or lose. It is all in his safe and secure hands.

Pauly Says:

Rafa can make the final if he isn’t in Djokovic ‘s side of the draw … However if they do meet in the final ?
GOD help Rafa … 6-1 6-2 6-3 is the most likely scoreboard
Djokovic would crush him easy !

Wawrinka in best form is the only one who can bully him & of course Federer with his crafty skills & variety
No one else can touch Djokovic !

It’s sad to see Rafa living in fantasy island living in denial
What’s going on ? Why won’t he get super coach ?
Uncle Toni is not capable of helping his nephew no more … It’s so frustrating considering Rafa should be challenging Djokovic given they are of similar age & Djokovic did once say Nadal is my biggest rival !

Come on Rafa … Swallow your pride you can’t be stubborn forever !

Gypsy Gal Says:

Michael can you also give me the winning lottery numbers lol, why is Andy so terribly out of shape i thought he had just helped GB win DC not so long ago?,and Stan relishes playing Novak,agree on the rest though Rafa is good against the rest,but aint got the legs for a five set against Novak,and Rogers facing father time now,would love for Nishikori to take the challenge to Novak like he did the USO in 2014,Cilic thankfully hasnt been the same since he won the title either,anyway my crystal ball says Novak will most likely win the AO,and Delpo will retire from tennis this year….

Gypsy Gal Says:

Dissapointed to say the least,personally i dont really give a damn if Travis Bickle thinks im some Novak hater,but i do care if Wogboy,Mat4,Jane etc see me like that as i thought people knew me better than that?….

Michael Says:


Of late, the H2H numbers between Novak and Andy is going very much in former’s favour and apart from Hop man’s cup, Andy’s performance has been well below par. He is capable of producing an upset, but chances are slim at the moment considering the confidence Novak is riding.

May be, a player like Isner or Karlovic might cause the biggest upset. Who knows for sure ?

Gypsy Gal Says:

Michael that doesnt mean Andys out of form,it just means Novaks in better form,but hes in the better form than anyone,any how im sure you will be smiling 3 weeks from now when Novaks holding the trophy, the rest are playing for the mere privelege of getting their backsides kicked….

Dave Says:

Federer has no chance against Nole. Check out there past few matches at the Australian Open. When is the last time Federer didn’t lose in straight sets to Nole in Austraila? It’s been a while. I would say Stan on fire is the only one who can challenge Nole. But Nole and Becker always seem to adjust things after a big loss like the French Open. I am sure Nole has learned his lesson from that loss and has better ways to counter Stan if he is on fire like that again in a best of 5 set match.

Hamza Says:

To beat Nole on hard courts, you need a good strong serve. The fact that Novak is the best returner in the game by far and Rafa having a weak serve – again by far – makes it a horrible match. Novak’s serve has become very good , and Rafa is not as good a returner as Novak. This is a double whammy; it’s harder for him to break Novak but it’s easier for Novak to break him ! The only way I see how Rafa can make life harder for Novak is to somehow discover the 2010 US open serve where he was consistently hitting the 130 mph mark and that too on the lines.

If he can’t put pressure on Novak through his serve, he can never challenge Novak. It’s as simple as that. When was the last time he pushed Novak to a tie-breaker in a set ? I don’t even remember. He needs a serve good enough to get a good percentage of short returns from Novak. Having to deal with Novak’s deep returns over and over just means he’s already on the back foot in the early part of the rally, and gets pushed back deeper and deeper.

Also, he’s super predictable in the deuce court; he doesn’t have a good consistent kicker serve to push people off the court. As a result of that, with his own aging and Novak’s remarkable improvement, the chinks in his serve have become more glaring. Until Novak finds it hard to break him, life will be hard for Rafa.

I wonder if Rafa is going to tweak his serve for the hard court tournaments to get some pop in it this season.

Margot Says:

But Michael, Nole’s beating EVERYONE. I really don’t think you can deduce from Andy’s losses that his form is “off.” You might as well say that about everyone that Nole has trounced 2015/16.

Gypsy Gal Says:

Exactly Margot….

calmdownplease Says:

‘Joeg’ and Pamela really should get married….



calmdownplease Says:

And Andy’s form is not OFF

He was really starting to look the biz towards the end of the ‘Hopman’ thingy
More dominant too, which is always good.

He’ll be ready.

I just hope the baby arrives on time
He must not pull out of a (hopefully) semi or final for this

I’m sorry but that’s asinine!

RZ Says:

@joeg – fair enough. It’s completely legit to say that Andy hasn’t accomplished as much as the other 3, and I share with your frustration that he hasn’t won more (but I’m hopeful it’s coming). But I always chime in when someone says he isn’t part of the Big 4 because of the misunderstanding of why the Big 4 has been named the Big 4.

Dave Says:

I did not know this about Andy Murray.

Murray was born with a bipartite patella, where the kneecap remains as two separate bones instead of fusing together in early childhood,[16] but was not diagnosed until the age of 16. He is seen frequently to hold his knee due to the pain caused by the condition and has pulled out of events because of it.

Dave Says:

I believe that Andy will accomplish more for sure. But until he does I put him in a catagory with Marat Safin as the underachieving 2. They are by far the 2 most talented players to achieve way under what there talent level is/was. I was reading that Andy’s parents divorced when he was 10 years old. That is one of the hardest things for a child to go through. My parents divorced when I was 12 years old and doing a lot of research on it, it rocks your stability as a person. Nole, Roger and Rafa had parents that stayed together as children, which would only help their stability as adults. I’m not making excuses for Andy, but if you do research it does have a huge affect on people even as adults.

Dave Says:

I am actually in the process of watching the 2012 Australian Open Semi-finals between Andy and Nole. Andy seemed way more stable when Lendl was coaching him. He was way more quiet during the matches and controlled with his emotions. I forgot how good he played back in 2012 and 2013. Lendl really was a huge stabilizing force for Andy. Even in 2015, Andy has never quite shown that same stability since Lendl being his coach.

Ben Pronin Says:

Djokovic seems to be doing a better job with adjustments against all of his opponents in general. Not that he’s unbeatable, as Federer has proven a few times, but he responds to losses really well. Murray got him in Canada and then got dismantled in their next 2 encounters. I think that says a lot about what Djokovic is doing with his game, and maybe what Murray isn’t doing with his own.

Wawrinka remains a x-factor because of his inconsistency. For the most part, he does play at a high level, but it’s a level Djokovic can handle. When Wawrinka goes into one of his crazy zones, adjustments pretty much don’t matter.

As far as the Wawrinka-Murray debate, it really is an interesting one. No doubt Murray has the more complete career and that’s unlikely to change by the time each player retires. But if Wawrinka ends up with more slams? You could say he’s the “greater” player. At the end of the day, slam count is the most important criteria when determining a player’s all-time ranking. Everything else is kinda background noise. Consider that Murray has 2 slams and an additional 6 finals appearances. That’s 2 years worth of slam finals. It’s an incredible feat. He’s tied at 13th all time for most finals reached. But can you say he’s a greater player than Jim Courier, who reached only 7 finals but won 4?

Dave Says:

I had to do some research about Andy. Even if Andy has played in the hardest era to play in(Nole, Rafa, Federer) he is so talented as a player. You could argue that he is just as talented or more talented in some ways than Nole, Rafa and Roger)The guy is physically so gifted. It comes down to consistent mental stability with Andy. That’s the only explanation I can see at this point.

Chrisford1 Says:

Dave, yes, when Andy is losing, the knee is one of 4 favorite places to clutch and grimace. And sometimes as a bonus – add a hobbling, staggered series of steps while dropping F-bombs at his box.
3 other favorite Andy clutch spots are back of left thigh, small of back, and stomach.
Just about everyone agrees Andy needs to toughen up mentally. Not just critics, but fans and those of us who like some things about his game and character a lot.

Chrisford1 Says:

Ben Pronin – “But can you say he’s (Murray) a greater player than Jim Courier, who reached only 7 finals but won 4?”

Yes, quite easily. Because you have to look at the 3 years Courier was in the hunt for Slam wins (1991-93) And see show his competition was. In a window, with the decline of Edberg, Becker, and Lendl on slower surfaces (AO And FO). And before Agassi and Pete bothered much with the AO and Pete just sucked on clay..

Andy won his stuff with Nole and Rafa and Fed trading #1 spots and winning where Andy didn’t. It’s 4 for Courier, but on top of higher competition in Andy’s time, and his 2 “Slam count” wins – add he got the gold medal at the Olympics and just about single-handedly got the Davis Cup for Britain. And his 11 MAsters 1000 titles and many RUPs.

More talented than Courier, equal or better output. Both obviously not in the league of Sampras, Nadal, Nole, and Fed – but great and 1st ballot Hall of Famers if not “All-Time Greats”.

calmdownplease Says:

`It comes down to consistent mental stability with Andy. That’s the only explanation I can see at this point..’

I don’t think anybody that supports him can suggest otherwise.
Also tactically, in the early part of his career, however, he was FAR too passive and also very stubborn in not changing this.
The result; various humblings and tears afterwards when he was found out at the sharp end of slams when the initiative must be taken.
I’m hoping that at, nearly 29, Andy is emotionally mature enough now to be consistent with reduced drama and more focus.
We’ll see.
The Baby could be a Godsend for his carrer too.
Having kids changes you and gives you new perspective, it’s difficult for it not too.
This may allow him to play more freely, in a career that has been simply fraught with pressure and tension.
Again, we’ll find out soon enough if that will be the case.

Ben Pronin Says:

CF1, I checked the competition. Lendl and Becker contested in the AO final in 91. Edberg lost to Courier in the 92 and 93 AO finals. Not sure you can really say that’s a decline. I guess you can say the French was sorta open for him but it’s not like there weren’t formidable clay court players at the time. Courier also reached the Wimbledon final in 93, a fast court, and the US Open final and semis in 91 and 92, respectively.

He burned bright for a really short amount of time. I think it says more about his game than it does about who he was playing.

Margot Says:

I’d like to formally welcome Chris and Dave as honorary and honourable members of the Andy Murray supporters club, challenger level.

Dave Says:

At this point, Nole is my favorite player. But I can still be happy for other players as well and hope they play up to their potential.

When looking at Andy, Nole, Federer, and Rafa, in the past I liked them in this order:

1. Federer
2. Andy
3. Nole
4. Rafa.

Today I like them in this order.

1. Nole
2. Rafa
3. Andy
4. Federer

With Rafa and Andy it changes often between 2 and 3 for me. I have no idea what the order will be as time goes on. It can always change with me. I appreciate all 4 of them in different ways.

Dave Says:

The reason for liking players has changed as well. I used to like Federer the most because of his style and Rafa the least because of his style. I was younger and had a different outlook on tennis and in some ways life 5 to 10 years ago. I appreciate mental toughness and dealing with stress during a tense match more than style now and if someone can overcome their own ego,(which Nole has talked about a lot within himself) they can accomplish great things in the sport of tennis.

Pauly Says:

Nadal with improved serve
Flatter forehand
That’s how you can challenge Djokovic

Wawrinka is the man who can win the Australian open

mat4 Says:


Courier story wasn’t that simple as some now believe, and your supposition about a failing opposition is a bit too hasty. I watched those RG finals he won, against Agassi and Korda, and also the one he lost, against Bruguera, and I followed a bit his career.

His early demise was a combination of several things — a certain mental frailty, combined with a complicated personal life. He lost heart-breaking encounters against Sampras, who was his arch-enemy, and there was especially that lost to Agassi in five at the AO, I believe, when he lead 2-0. Add to this injuries, and the picture starts shaping.

Then, the beginning of the nineties where a complicate epoch, a time when tennis changed. The system changed — with more frequent matches between top players with the advent of the mandatory masters tournaments. It required a full professionalisation of the players, and some just couldn’t change their habits, others didn’t know what to do, how to improve their preparation: a more scientific approach was needed — starting with nutrition, the help of a dedicated physio, and it all lacked back then. It just started.

Then, it was also a time where the shift to “graphite”, modern tennis finished, and players who learned to play with wooden racquet, who still used an eastern grip were at the end of the road. It was the case of Edberg, who ended his slams winning at the age of 27, at the peak of his physical mights.

It was also the time when doping appeared in tennis — there were big questions about Agassi and Bruguera in the time. Recently, Noah has mentioned Bruguera again. With the demise of DDR, a lot of “experts” went west, and the physiognomy of certain sports changed overnight.

I didn’t especially like Courier at that time (his backhand was ugly, that’s the reason), but he was a great champion, and he was a complete player, although he liked better to play from the baseline.

While Murray is a great champion, all those comparisons between different eras are a bit too light-hearted.

danica Says:

Tavis Bickle,

Although I wholeheartedly disagree with your post on January 12th, 2016 at 3:16 pm, I find it refreshing and honest and I do appreciate it big time. As a Nole supporter, I like him for the reasons you can’t stand him. And I don’t mind him having his 5 minutes of fame and accomplishing his own small era. He wins a lot these days, but it is not gonna last forever. But I will support him as long as he plays and won’t be disappointed when he starts loosing.

Margot Says:

danica: TB is a Nole supporter, post was all satire.

Wog Boy Says:


I am surprised you missed that, TB is a breath of fresh air on TX, and big Nole fan, not just Robert de Niro fan:)

danica Says:

Oh, my bad!! And my sincere apologies! I am not very good with names :(((. Sorry TB. Or maybe there was a mix up and short circuit in my brain somewhere ;). It happens with old age :).

Margot Says:

Robert de Niro sucks these days, time for a name change :)

Gypsy Gal Says:

Mat4 then i guess not :((….

Gypsy Gal Says:

Mat4 sorry just seen your post from the other thread,so my misunderstanding,and just wanted to say big congrats on your premotion,and thanks for the video Bowie and Mercury,Elvis and John Lennon,Michael Jackson the angels will be having a party for sure ;))….

Gypsy Gal Says:

Danica as Margot says TBs post was a joke,the players he doesnt care for are Rafa and Roger….

Gypsy Gal Says:

Margot lol ;)….

danica Says:

Yeah GG, I figured :)).
I sometimes just skim over posts and rarely pay attention to names, and not really being a regular, I hope I can be forgiven ;). Lol.

Gypsy Gal Says:

Danica your one of the nicest posters here,so theres nothing to forgive,i enjoy your posts,which are always fair and balanced ;)….

Gypsy Gal Says:

^Disagree with WB about the breath of fresh air bit though,his SOH seems a bit too crude for me,still each to their own^….

Giles Says:

“breath of fresh air”?. Lol. You can tell what sort of air he’s been breathing to make that statement.

SG1 Says:

I have to say that I enjoy watching one player grab the sport by the horns and elevate it to another level. It’s a joy watching Djokovic dominate as he is right now. We’re seeing an elite athlete at or neat the peak of his powers elevating the game to levels never before seen. Just like Borg in the 70’s, Lendl in the 80’s and Sampras in the 90’s and Roger in the ’00’s, Djokovic is moving the standard for what it means to be a great player. At the moment, there’s an impregnable nature to Djokovic. I find it incredible to watch.

kjb Says:

Well, Andys draw looks pretty gravy, Nadal, not so much. Fed/Nole Semi possible. Getcha popcorn ready!!!

RZ Says:

Posted on another thread but posting here too since there’s more discussion here about the AO draw. I’ve set up a bracket challenge at http://www.tourneytopia.com/RacquetBracketAussieOpenATP/TennisXposters/default.aspx

This isn’t the same site as the past challenges but I couldn’t figure out how to do it there but could get it going here.

mat4 Says:

Just seen the draw. Since there is no article yet, to summarize:

Projected QF:

Djokovic – Nishikori (Tsonga)
Federer – Berdych

Wawrinka – Nadal
Murray – Ferrer

From what I have seen, Murray could have an easy path to the semi, where he could face Stan or Rafa. I put my bets on Rafa to make the final from this half.

On the other half, Fed got his worst possible opponent in Berdych, and Novak could have problems against Nishikori or Tsonga.

Still, I presume that both Novak and Fed should make the semi.

For Novak, Rafa is the best probable opponent in the final, while Stan and Andy could pose a lot of problems, especially Stan, since he would have to be in great shape to beat both Rafa and Andy.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

I will call Rafa as second favourite with this draw. Can’t see Fed beating Novak and then Rafa or Stan in the final, maybe Andy though. Nor Stan beating Rafa, then Murray, then Novak.

Andy beating Stan/Rafa, then Novak? Possible, but I think the best “2nd” contender is Rafa, if Rog catches fire and takes out Novak.

kjb Says:


I would tend to think Rafa would be worse than Berydch for Fed, but thats just my opinion.

Chrisford1 Says:

Matt4 -I think Rafa has a nasty draw with all sorts of threats potentially playing him before Stan, if makes it that far. Starting with old foe Verdasco in the 1st.
Djokovic has an OK draw. He draws a 1st round Korean teen, 3rd highest ranked teen in the ATP. Hyeong Chung. I think Djoker has practiced with him, as he has with the deaf Korean junior Duck-hee Lee. He is Chung’s favorite player.

Link to the Draw:


Chrisford1 Says:

BTW, Matt4, I read your response to me on Courier v. Murray being the better player, which Pronin took as being Courier because only Slams matter and Courier has 4 vs. Andy’s two.
Your points were good ones.

I would add one more thing. No statues of Jim Courier are going up. But shortly after Andy retire, a statue of him goes up next to Fred Perry – for redeeming Britain with the “trifecta”. Wimbledon and Davis Cup and gold medal for the host nation at the Olympics, (plus a silver with Robson. )

Pronin can have the Slam Count argument. I’m going with the statue-worthiness argument!!!

mat4 Says:


I didn’t write that Jim Courier was the better player. I wrote that it was difficult to assess, that that era wasn’t weak and that it was a period of rupture in tennis.

Honestly, I don’t know who the better player is. Murray is good, Courier was good too.

mat4 Says:


You’re right, I guess. I forgot that Rafa was no 5 when I wrote my post, and that he could have landed in the first half.

Then, I don’t know what to think about Rafa’s game. He looked good at the WTF, but he was steamrolled in Doha, and lost a few sets against second tier players.

We’ll know soon enough, I guess.

Wog Boy Says:

If Rafa makes it to QF he’ll make it all the way to final.

Dave Says:

Wog Boy. You are correct on that. Rafa just has to get through his first 4 rounds, where Rafa historically starts out slow in Grand Slams and builds on his momentum. I don’t see Stan beating Rafa in the QF and Rafa is mentally to strong for Andy.

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