The first Grand Slam Tournament of 2017 is fast approaching! Here are a few expert opinions and insights on what we can expect from some notable names at the Australian Open.
Andy Murray: He may be the current number one and have scooped his second Wimbledon championship and defended the top Olympic honors in the same year, but it’s the Australian Open that Andy Murray can’t get out of his mind. The UK tennis star has never won in the land down under, and even though he has the chance to close out the calendar year as World Number One, he’ll be coming into January hungrier than ever before.
Novak Djokovic: Turn Murray’s Australian Open misfortunes into victories and you’ve got a good picture of Djokovic’s performance. The Serbian athlete has won the Open six times, five of them against Andy Murray. If you’re sticking with the odds, Djokovic is the clear favorite to win again this year. And although Murray is poised to end 2016 as the Number One, Djokovic could lay claim to that spot come 2017.
Nick Kyrgios: A wild card, but ESPN’s Mark Philippoussis thinks he has a shot. The Australian is strong and talented enough to get it done, but Philippoussis warns against his impetuous temperament and youth. The 21-year old Kyrgios has been penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct and tanking in the past, and winning a Grand Slam requires a tremendous amount of mental fortitude in addition to raw physical talent. He’s only 21 and has a lot of growing to do, but anything could happen!
Lizette Cabrera: Kyrgios may be the wild card pick to win, but his fellow countrywoman Lizette Cabrera is an actual wildcard draw. The 18-year old received her wildcard invitation during her time at a camp with some of Australia’s finest tennis players, meaning she won’t need to participate in the Australian Open Wildcard Playoffs. Cabrera still has youth on her side and is only getting better— she recently beat her first top 100 player, no. 75 Kirumi Nara of Japan.