Andy Murray: Can He Win the 2009 Australia Open?

Joe NixonCorrespondent IJanuary 13, 2009

Andy Murray is a longshot no more. The 21-year old Scotsman has opened as the betting favorite amongst bookmakers to win the 2009 Australia Open and his Grand Slam title in the process.

Andy Murray is fresh off his win over Andy Roddick in the Qatar Open Final and looked sharp enough to impress the bookmakers.

In addition, Murray has beaten Nadal and twice beaten Federer all in the past few months. While Murray's star continues to rise. I still believe it is unlikely

he will win the 2009 Australia Open for several reasons.

The Australia Open is played in sets of five, not three and Murray's impressive form in the past month have all been in sets of three. The increase in sets may prove again just too much for the young man from Dunblane, Scotland.

Plus, there is the crowd factor.  As the betting favorite, expect Murray to draw large crowds at all Australia Open matches. These fans hanging on every serve will add to intensity and pressure on Andy Murray. This will be far greater than anything Murray has experienced in the Gulf countries when he bested Andy Roddick and company. Indeed  the atmosphere in the Gulf was almost jovial at times. That is not the mood at a Grand Slam event.

Meanwhile, Federer was openly shocked that he was not the betting favorite to win the Australia Open. He had good cause to be so inclined. Other than Novak Djokovic's breakout win at the Australia Open last year, this event has historically been dominated by Federer. Meanwhile Federer and Nadal have historically dominated the past Grand Slam events.

Meanwhile, Andy Murray has a personal history of struggling at the Australia Open. In all three of his apperances at Australia Open, expectations were high. Yet, he has never advanced further than a fourth round loss in 2007.

Don't get me wrong, as a proud Scottish-American, I have followed Murray's rise with pride. I’m very sure he will one day win a Grand Slam title, just not the 2009 Australia Open. We can expect him to vastly improve on those past performances at this Australia Open, just not win it all.

Of course, I'd be more than happy to see him win, though I’m keeping my money away

from the bookies on this one, especially at short odds.