Novak Djokovic has gone odds-on to win the Australian Open before a 130mph serve has even been smashed after benefiting from an almost perfect draw in Melbourne.
World number one Djokovic was already clear favourite before the draw having won the opening Grand Slam of the last two years and his chances of a hat-trick have been boosted by avoiding all of the big guns until the final.
Tomas Berdych is the only likely threat in Djokovic’s immediate quarter, but the Serbian has won 11 of their 12 career meetings, including all of the last nine.
Of the big four seeds, it was David Ferrer that was put alongside Djokovic and his record is not much better.
Djokovic has won all 11 showdowns between the pair on hard courts and took all four in 2012.
Andy Murray remains second favourite at 3/1, but will certainly have to do it the hard way.
If all of the fancies reach the latter stages as planned, Murray will have to run the gauntlet from the quarter finals of Juan Martin del Potro, Roger Federer and Djokovic to win the Australian Open for the first time.
These are arguably his three biggest threats for the title.
Murray has been evicted at the first round stage twice before in Melbourne, most memorably in 2008 when getting a nightmare draw against an unseeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
He will have to face another of the most dangerous unseeded players first this time too in Dutchman Robin Haase.
In his two previous encounters with Murray, Haase won the first indoors and then was 2-0 up at the 2011 US Open before Murray battled back to progress.
Murray will hoping for a simpler passage through this time and the only good news is that Haase has lost 10 of his last 11 games ahead of arriving in Australia.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date