The first Grand Slam of the calendar is to kick start soon with grandeur and style. This prestigious tournament is very special for all tennis fans as it sets the tempo for the whole year. Can Novak Djokovic carry on his form and win his sixth Australian Open title or will Roger Federer show his class once again to claim his 18th Grand Slam.
With the Australian Open starting at the month end, we bring before you some of the players who might be crowned as the Australian Open champion this year.
Without any doubt, Djokovic Aka Djoker is the favourite to win the first Grand Slam of the calendar year. The 28-year-old Serb has been at the top for the past four years after Boris Becker had started to coach him. His Australian Open record is phenomenal. The five-time winner would look to start the year on a winning note. His biggest threat will be Stan Wawrinka. Having lost to Wawrinka in the French Open would be his biggest regret in his career. There is no doubt that Djokovic would try to win his favourite Slam.
He may not be the world number 1, he may not have won more than two Grand Slams, but he sure is amongst the players who could win the Australian Open. The 30-year-old Swiss has the potential to beat every top player and seems to be the biggest threat to Djokovic's bid for his sixth Australian Open crown. After winning the French Open against Djokovic, Stan showed the world what he is capable of. Even though he seems to be a late bloomer, he has every attribute to go all the way. Apart from his inconsistent displays at times, he is a remarkable player.
Age does not matter for player like Roger Federer. The 34-year-old Swiss legend is still going strong and is at the top level. Although he hasn't won a Grand Slam for a while, none can complain. He has changed his gameplan and that’s giving him good results. With the recent hiring of Ivan Ljubicic, it looks as if he has got a plan for Djokovic, the only player he hasn't been that effective against. The 17-time Grand Slam winner would give everything he has to win another crown. His mindset has been very positive and world still hopes for King Federer to be back at the top.
Andy Murray is also a contender for this Grand Slam. His recent performances may not be up to the mark, but it is for sure that he and Ivan Lendl have a plan for tasting another success. He may not pose a huge threat, but on his day, he is the best and unbeatable. In the 28-year-old Scot rests the hope of Great Britain.
Last but not the least is our own 'King of Clay'. The 29-year-old Spaniard, who lately has been off colour owing to his injuries. For every great, his greatest threat will be another player. But in Nadal's case, it is just the injuries he needs to fight with. 2015 had been a bad year for 14-time Grand Slam winner, as he finished the year without any Grand Slam. People are criticizing him to holding on to his uncle, Toni Nadal, as his coach. To prove his critics wrong, he must step out of his comfort zone and strain to scale new heights. Even though he doesn't pose a great challenge for this Grand Slam, his performance here can decide his year.
However, with the likes of Milos Raonic, Berdych, Ferrer , this edition of Australian seems to be interesting. Whether there will be a new champion in the making or a champion becomes a legend, we have to wait and see.
By Bhargav Srinivas