Let’s start with the men’s singles where it looks impossible to oppose world number one Novak Djokovic. The Serb may not hit as many winners as some but he does everything very well and his defence is second to none. Andy Murray does not have the game to trouble him and he is slightly susceptible to flair players like Stan Wawrinka, Roger Federer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga but only if everything goes right for them and he has an off-day. That said, his price of 4-5 reflects that. We can wait until the start of the tournament to back him and hope his price drifts slightly before then.
The first week on the WTA Tour has seen a body count Charles Bronson in Death Wish would have been proud of. Serena Williams, Simona Halep, Maria Sharapova, Petra Kvitova and Garbine Muguruza all pulled out citing injury or illness, not ideal with such a short lead-in to the first Grand Slam of 2016.
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One woman who finally appears to be back to full fitness is Victoria Azarenka. The former world number one has struggled with a succession of injuries in recent years but she was superb against Roberta Vinci in the early hours of this morning, making mincemeat of last year’s US Open finalist’s serve in reaching the Brisbane semis.
Her rivals may return to form before Melbourne but, given the now-retired Flavia Pennetta won the last Grand Slam, all of them have question marks. I expect Azarenka to go on and win in Brisbane and, if that happens, her price will shorten further so let’s strike while the iron’s hot. We can have a look at an each-way bet once the draw comes out but, for now, take the 7-1 on offer with bwin.com.