The 2012 Australian Open starts on Monday, January 16th with Novak Djokovic looking to win his third title from Melbourne Park having already won in both 2008 and in 2011.
Here are the odds for each of those players to win the 2012 Australian Open outright (odds subject to change):
- Djokovic: +250 (5/2) with Victor Chandler
- Federer: +300 (3/1) with Blue Square
- Nadal: +500 (5/1) with Bodog
- Murray: +600 (6/1) with Bodog
Djokovic's 2011 season featured three Grand Slam titles and five Masters Series 1000 titles. However the world No. 1 did lose some momentum down the stretch of the 2011 ATP season, perhaps due to fatigue and minor health problems that resulted from all the tough matches he played during the year.
Roger Federer, ranked third in the world but the second favorite for the 2012 Aussie, stepped in when Djokovic stepped out. Federer was not stopped following the 2011 US Open as he won two Davis Cup matches, ATP Basel, the ATP Paris Masters and the ATP World Tour Finals. All totaled, Federer has a 17-match winning streak intact as the start of the 2012 ATP season nears.
Many, pointing to Djokovic's decline following the 2011 US Open, wonder if the Serb will continue his success from 2011 in 2012. The answer to that question remains to be seen, but if his setbacks were due to fatigue and minor injury then certainly the offseason would help him recover and get back to winning titles in 2012.
Nadal, on the other hand, looks overrated in the betting market. The Spaniard has not advanced to the semifinals of the Aussie since 2009 as he fell in the quarters in 2010 to Andy Murray and in the quarters last season to David Ferrer. The Australian Open is the current world No. 2's worst slam when historical results are looked at and that's something that Nadal fans cannot ignore.
Andy Murray, though he has never won a Grand Slam yet, has enjoyed significant success in each of the last two Melbourne Park slams. Despite all the Wimbledon hype surrounding the UK's best player, a solid argument could now be made that the Australian Open is where his best Grand Slam tennis goes on display.
Not only did Murray defeat a slightly bothered Nadal in the 2010 quarters but in 2011 Murray defeated David Ferrer in the semifinals, the player that knocked Nadal out. Additionally Murray is almost as hot as Federer heading into the Australian Open as the Scot won three titles after the 2011 US Open (ATP Bangkok, ATP Tokyo and the Shanghai Masters). Murray did pull out of the World Tour Finals but the extra rest should help him play his best tennis at the Aussie once again.
The draw for the 2012 Australian Open will be released on January 13th and there's no use speculating much on the finalists until that point as there is no way to know who will share halves of the draw.
However, I think both Djokovic and Murray will win all their matches until they bump into one another at Melbourne with the Scot the player most likely to take Djokovic out, if anyone does.
Federer, despite being the second favorite, has consistently shown an inability to win matches late in Grand Slams in nearly two years now. He is overrated in the betting market for the 2012 Australian Open with Djokovic and Murray, the finalists from last season, the clear favorites to win outright.
These are my favorites at this time: