The 106th edition of the Australian Open starts a week on Monday and much of the conversation so far has been whether some of the biggest names will be fit for the first Grand Slam of 2018. Andy Murray has pulled out due to the hip injury that has seen him out of action since Wimbeldon last year, however six time Austrialian Open winner Novack Djokovic has confirmed he will be back in time for the first round on Monday. Jack Ogalbe gives his Tennis Tips for the men's singles draw.
Twelve months ago, Roger Federer upset the odds to claim his 18th Grand Slam, more than four years after his previous triumph. The Swiss had been written off in many quarters and questions were asked whether he would be able to compete again after taking the second half of 2016 off to recover from a knee injury.
Not only did he come back to compete, but he also rolled back the years to win at Melbourne Park and went on to add the Wimbledon title to his bulging trophy cabinet.
Five Australian Open triumphs show just how well suited he is to the conditions and despite not playing this year, is a master of tailoring his form to peak on the big stage.
He is the favourite in the Australian Open Betting and it would be no surprise to see the second seed triumph again.
The Spaniard is sure to be gunning for revenge at a venue where he has only won once.
He is the current world number one and arguably matched Federer in 2017, claiming both the French and US Opens. However, he failed to beat the Swiss in four meetings last year and will have one eye on the other side of the draw throughout the tournament.
As the top seed he should be feeling good and despite being second best in the Tennis betting, will be optimistic of claiming a 17th Grand Slam.
Momentum is often a key factor at the Australian Open and Grigor Dimitrov's confidence levels are sure to be sky high after ending 2017 with victory at the ATP World Tour Finals.
After also breaking his Masters 1000 duck in Cincinnati, he is arguably the form man in the world but will have been disappointed after falling short at the Brisbane International.
His semi-final defeat may be the setback that helps him and he will now redouble his focus as he looks to win a maiden Grand Slam at a tournament.
After reaching the semi-finals 12 months ago, Dimitrov is surprisingly low in the Tennis odds but this could be the perfect chance for the 26-year-old to prove he has the mental edge to match his talent and finally win a major.
As previously mentioned, momentum can be key at Melbourne Park and Nick Kyrgios certainly has that when looking at potential outsiders.
The winner of the Brisbane International, the 22-year-old is a player who plays in fits and starts and reached the last eight at his home Grand Slam in 2015.
Although not the finished article, Kyrgios has the talent to trouble anyone and this could be the event where he finally puts his form together for a fortnight.
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