Anticipation is high with predictions abounding as we inch ever closer to the first major of the year. The predictions, however, are almost all the same - Djokovic and Serena holding the trophies in two weeks time. While I believe this is very likely myself, what's the fun of the build-up to the final if we already know the result?
With the draw being so heavily favored to Djokovic, having pretty much of a cake-walk most of the time, and being the lucky one to get Ferrer in his half (although Ferrer has already won two titles this year, just winning his second this weekend, to beat Djokovic in the semi would be a bit of a miracle), he pretty much has a shoe-in to the final. Federer by far has the hardest draw, with one of the biggest concerns, in my mind, being his second round most probably against Davydenko. He really struggled against him here a couple years ago, and anyone who saw Davydenko play against Ferrer knows that he still has the capability to play amazing tennis. Then, of course, there is Bernard Tomic, the tanker and troublemaker from last season who seems to have gotten his life together with a new focus on tennis. He just won his first ATP title in Sydney and could face Fed in the third round. Aussie support will be strongly in Tomic's favor, but Roger is used to those moments. Roger could also see Raonic in the fourth round, who he has lost a set to every time they have played. However, I think in a best of five format that he will come through. My hope is that he won't come out looking rusty from lack of match play but will be mentally prepared for the onslaught and that these challenging matches will toughen him up for later in the tournament. I definitely think he has a chance to win it this year.
As for the women, Serena most certainly is the very heavy favorite, but there are definitely others who have a shot - Azarenka, Sharapova, and I am even going to throw in Radwanska, who is on a roll, not having lost a set yet this year in two tournaments, and actually posting a double bagel in the final in Sydney, something that hasn't been done in a final since 2006. I really feel for Caroline Wozniacki, who is drawn to face Sabine Lisicki in her first round match, a very challenging hard hitting player. I really hope Caro can figure out a way to get through this one or I'm afraid to see what will happen with her year.
And on the fun side of things, the Australian Open Kids Day saw some of the top players having a good time on the court, along with some characters like Sponge Bob. I had to watch it with no sound but it was enjoyable to see them relaxed before the serious stuff starts. The part I have most enjoyed, though, is seeing a few pictures of the Federer twins. Here are a few to show how cute and grown up they are getting:
The next post I write will be about the real action at the Aussie Open. Let the tournament begin!