Underdogs could give Djokovic and co Australian Open fright
The Australian Open has been known for its relatively shock finalists in the past 15 years and there are some other underdogs lingering in the draw this time who will fancy their chances of reaching the latter stages.
Petr Korda and Thomas Johansson are among the surprise winners of the Australian Open in this period, while Rainer Schuttler, Marcos Baghdatis, Fernando Gonzalez and a then rookie Jo-Wilfried Tsonga have all made the final since 2003.
Therefore, progression to the latter rounds may not be plain sailing for the likes of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray and there are at least three dark horses capable of springing some surprises in the men’s draw in Melbourne.
Juan Martin del Potro @ 14/1
Del Potro would undoubtedly be higher than 11th seed at the Australian Open had he not missed virtually the whole of 2011 with a wrist injury, but will undoubtedly be the one player outside of the top eight that will be most feared in the draw.
The Argentine is a former US Open winner so knows what it takes to win a Grand Slam and because he remains on the comeback trail, has not set himself particularly high goals, meaning he may take to the court with less pressure on his shoulders.
Bernard Tomic @ 66/1
Tomic has burst onto the tennis scene in the past 12 months after reaching the third round of last year’s Australian Open.
He has since reached the quarter finals at Wimbledon thanks to beating the likes of Robin Soderling and Stanislas Wawrinka, alongside already making the semi-finals of the warm up event in Brisbane this year.
Tomic is currently ranked at his highest ever position in the ATP rankings at 37 and will be hugely supported by the home crowd to progress through in Australia.
Milos Raonic @ 66/1
Raonic has been threatening for a while to make a big breakthrough in a Grand Slam and there are reasons to believe this is his time, especially if his monster serve is on form.
The recently-turned 21-year-old Canadian reached the fourth round in Melbourne last year and was victorious in the ATP Tour event in Chennai earlier this month due to successes over Nicolas Almagro and Janko Tipsarevic.