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Players Who Need The Australian Open More Than Nole Needs A Haircut

January 13, 2010

Entering a Grand Slam the favourites are the first set of people most fans look to. Conversations centre around who will win out of Federer, Nadal, or another member of the big five. Over on the women’s side, all eyes turn to Serena Williams, Clijsters, and Henin to give us an exciting Slam. But what we don’t always consider is not who is capable of winning the Slam the easiest, but who needs it the most. There are always players, regardless of their ranking, who need to put a in a good performance to either justify their ranking or remind the top players that they are not yet done and dusted. Having a look at both the men and women, I’ve created a list of the top five players from each tour that need the Australian Open most. Today’s list is for the men.

5. Andy Murray: There is no doubt that Murray needs to win a Slam this year. With all the talk, hype, and promise, Murray needs to get a major title under his belt to cement himself as not just a current top five member, but a player with a bright future. The Australian Open is easily the most unpredictable of all the Slams and therefore a clear chance for Murray to claim the title. However, it isn’t his best playing surface and he probably fancies his chances higher at Wimbledon and the US Open. A solid result is necessary, but a win is not.

4. Jo Wilfried Tsonga: After his run at the Australian Open in 2008, where he made the final, Tsonga has proven himself as a player with much promise. Unfortunately, he has remained just that. The Australian Open is Tsonga’s best surface and after his demolition of Soderling in a warm up tournment, he looks to be in form. Tsonga needs at least a run to the quarters to prove he is still improving and a player to beat in 2010.

3. Nikolay Davydenko: Davydenko has always been a player well known to tennis fans as a solid all rounder and dangerous on his day. However, Davydenko hasn’t performed particulary well in Slams and has never been seriously considered a favourite. This year is different. Davydenko finished off 2009 by winning the Shanghai Masters and the WTF, in the process beating Nadal, Federer, and del Potro. He has started 2010 by taking Doha, again beating Federer and Nadal. At the age of 28, Davydenko appears to be in the form of his life. Davydenko is capable of winning a Slam or at least making a final. Time is running out for the Russian, this could be his best opportunity.

2. Novak Djokovic: The world number three took this title in 2008 and hasn’t done much since. With average Slam results in 2009, Djokovic needs another major title to boost his own confidence and solidify himself inside the top four. Despite his problems with the Melbourne heat, the Australian Open is Djokovic’s best playing surface. Djokovic absolutely must make the semi finals if he is to be considered a serious Slam contender for the year. A win would do him wonders.

1. Andy Roddick: Roddick’s one Slam is always going to paint him as an underachiever. Whether this is fair or not, considering the emergence of Federer and then Nadal, a second Slam would satisfy a lot of Roddick’s fans, and possibly the man himself. He came very close at Wimbledon 09, but disappointed at the US Open. The Australian Open could be Roddick’s best shot for success and he needs it more than anyone.

Men who don’t necessarily need to do that well: Roger Federer, Robin Soderling… that is about it.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. theslyguy permalink
    January 14, 2010 11:06 pm

    I agree about Murray and Roddick but the name you forgot is Rafael Nadal. When he won “Oz” last year, everyone crowned him the new king. Now a year later, and without having won a title in eight months, many wonder if it’s over. I don’t think he’s done by a long shot, but a win in Melbourne would end a lot of the talk.

    Davydenko really should win “Oz” but the heat and the best 3 of 5 format doesn’t help him. Tsonga doesn’t have a chance unless the draw opens up. And I mean like all of the seeds lose second round.

    • January 15, 2010 11:01 pm

      I considered Nadal but I thought that he could afford to not win the AO as long as he wins the FO or Wimby. A hard court is never his best surface and tennis fans know we shouldn’t expect the world from him on one.

      I don’t think Tsonga should win the Oz but he needs a decent result (perhaps upsetting Djok in the fourth) to prove he is still a force.

    • January 15, 2010 11:01 pm

      I considered Nadal but I thought that he could afford to not win the AO as long as he wins the FO or Wimby. A hard court is never his best surface and tennis fans know we shouldn’t expect the world from him on one.

      I don’t think Tsonga should win the Oz but he needs a decent result (perhaps upsetting Djok in the fourth) to prove he is still a force.

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