2018 Australian Open Preview

On January 15, 2018, in Sporting News, by Bud Thornton

roger federer switzerlandThe tennis season is underway and the first Grand Slam of the season, the Australian Open, is starting today in Melbourne.

Swiss tennis star Roger Federer is looking to clinch his 20th major and defend his Australian Open title, which he won last year in a thrilling final against Spaniard Rafael Nadal.

Last year didn’t have the greatest of endings for Federer as he lost the U.S Open quarterfinal to Juan Martin del Potro and then was knocked out of the ATP World Tour Finals, in the semifinals by David Goffin.

Federer will try to repeat his 2017 first-half performance and improve on his second-half numbers to add a few additional Grand Slams to his name.

Nadal will also try to get his hands on a few more Grand Slam titles this year after winning the U.S Open and the Roland Garros in 2017. He ended the year with injury-related issues, and he does go into the 2018 Australian Open with some health-related questions in the back of his mind. Because of that and due to his start to this year there is speculation whether he’s really healthy or not.

Six-time Australian Open winner Novak Djokovic is also returning to the circuit after recovering from injury-related issues.

The Serbian missed the whole second half of 2017 with elbow problems as he looked like a shadow of his former self. Djokovic decided to take the second half of last season off to have surgery on his elbow as he took a page out of Federer’s book after coming back last season stronger and better after taking an extended period of time off.

It’s still undetermined how fit Djokovic is and that is to be determined until we see him in action at the Australian Open.

Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka, the winner of the 2014 Australian Open, is also returning from injury. He also missed the back end of last year’s season. Although he’s quite inconsistent when he’s healthy, on a good day he can beat almost anyone. His fitness will determine how far he can go in this year’s tournament.

Five-time finalist Andy Murray will miss the 2018 Australian Open as he recovers from a horrific hip injury, which has been described as career-threatening and even at times career ending.

The injury forced the Britton to retire from last year’s Wimbledon quarterfinal and he ended missing the last part of the 2017 season. He has decided to sit the first major of the year out as he underwent hip surgery the first week of January and still is rehabbing. He hopes to be able to come back to tennis this year before the start of Wimbledon.

Japanese Kei Nishikori will also miss the Australian Open as he is dealing with numerous different injuries and his career seems to be taking a nosedive as he is constantly getting injured. His injury related issues are diluting the quality of tennis and he may never again be a dominant player.

Federer is still the favorite to win the Australian Open, followed by Nadal, Djokovic (if healthy) and then Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov.

On the women’s side, Serena Williams has also decided to skip the tournament as she recovers from giving birth to her first newborn baby.

She rejoined the tour in January, but her form still isn’t great. She thus decided to take some more time to train and regain her top form as she wants to be able to compete at a high level when she rejoins the tour for good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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