“That tends to favour the older more experienced player rather than a player in their teens or early twenties”, the study says.
The exhibition match at Kooyong was his first match in more than six months as Djokovic hadn’t played since Wimbledon in July, and he showed no signs of the elbow injury that also forced his withdrawal from Doha last week. He followed his run to the final in Melbourne by winning the French Open and U.S. Open, splitting the Grand Slam honors with Federer for the year.
Negative signs continued when he made a decision to opt out of his first warm-up to the Australian Open, in Doha.
The Serbian 12-time Grand Slam victor was in good form, and full of optimism, after his first competitive outing since losing a Wimbledon quarter-final to Tomas Berdych last July.
Nadal came agonisingly close to winning a second title in Melbourne previous year, losing in five sets to Roger Federer in the final. Yet nobody knows how any of this year’s rusty sorts might function, or how those who have grabbed their formerly unattainable rankings will function with fresh pressure. At the age of 36, he looks a strong favourite to retain his title and become the first man to hit 20 grand slam singles titles. The obvious pick here is Djokovic, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Young could steal a set or make it three competitive sets.
Their replacement – a “lucky loser” from the qualifying tournament – will get the other 50 percent of the first-round prize money.
Nick Kyrgios of Australia will be the highest seed amongst the Australians after being seeded 14th. It’s great to get the feeling once again of playing a match.
Grigor Dimitrov and Alexander Zverev are also highly-fancied. Williams has won the Australian Open seven times, more than anyone since 1969.
Serena Williams and Svetlana Kuznetsova aren’t featuring at Melbourne Park, with Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori unable to compete on the men’s side. “For now everything at the moment is going in the right direction”, the Serbian star said on Thursday.
That left a raft of highly ranked players who will rummage around for first Grand Slam titles. The former ATP World No. 1 is looking for an Australian Open bid, and this win is a huge step toward that goal. Elina Svitolina is listed at 10/1, while No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki has 11/1 odds.
Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza, former champion Angelique Kerber, Agnieszka Radwanska and Sharapova have all been drawn in the same quarter. 2017’s beaten finalist is up against Belinda Bencic in the opening round.