Beginning today, Monday 15th January 2017, the first Grand Slam title of the year takes place in the world of men’s and women’s tennis as most of the world’s finest players are competing this year at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Build Up

It’s been a somewhat terse build up to the event with plenty of controversy and disappointment in the run up. First Britain’s Andy Murray announced he would not be competing due to deciding to have an operation on a hip problem that has dogged him for many months now and which has seen him plummet down the world rankings.

Then on Friday Billie Jean King joined Martina Navratilova in stating that the Margaret Court Arena should be renamed after offensive comments by Court about the LGBT community, in which she stated that children from people within these communities were “from the devil”.

Novak Djokovic then got involved in a player’s meeting on Friday, where he expressed a desire to see prize money increased considerably at tennis tournaments. Not so much for players in the top 100, but for those ranked below for whom being on tour can bring considerable financial pressures. He even brought in a lawyer who outlined how players could break away from the ATP, who look after the interests of both players and tournament sponsors, to form their own separate players union.

All in all, it was a somewhat tempestuous start to the first Grand Slam of the year.

Australian Open 2018 – Stats and Facts

  • Current Holders – Men’s – Roger Federer: Women’s – Serena Williams
  • Prize Money – A$55,000,000
  • Surface – Hard
  • Venue: Melbourne Park
  • Most Men’s Title Winners: Roy Emerson & Novak Djokovic (6)
  • Most Women’s Title Winners: Margaret Court (11)

Australian Open Top 16 Seeds – Men’s and Women’s Tournament

Seed Men’s Tournament Seed Women’s Tournament
1 Rafael Nadal (Spa) 1 Simona Halep (Rom)
2 Roger Federer (Swi) 2 Caroline Wozniacki (Den)
3 Grigor Dimitrov (Bul) 3 Garbine Muguruza (Spa)
4 Alexander Zverev (Ger) 4 Elina Svitolina (Ukr)
5 Dominic Thiem (Aut) 5 Venus Williams (USA)
6 Maran Cilic (Cro) 6 Karolina Pliskova (Cze)
7 David Goffin (Bel) 7 Jelena Ostapenko (Lat)
8 Jack Sock (USA) 8 Caroline Garcia (Fra)
9 Stan Wawrinka (Swi) 9 Johanna Konta (GB)
10 Pablo Carreno Busta (Spa) 10 Coco Vanderweghe (USA)
11 Kevin Anderson (S.A) 11 Kristina Mladenovic (Fra)
12 Juan Martin del Potro (Arg) 12 Julia Gorges (Ger)
13 Sam Querrey (USA) 13 Sloane Stephens (USA)
14 Novak Djokovic (Ser) 14 Anastasia Sevastova (Lat)
15 Jo-Wilfred Tsonga (Fra) 15 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Rus)
16 John Isner (USA) 16 Elena Vesnina (Rus)

Shocks Aplenty on the First Day of Action

Due to the time difference, the action got underway overnight and there have already been plenty of shocks in the tournament with a number of top seeds in both the male and female draws already packing their bags after first round defeats.

It was a particularly miserable day for American players as the top three ranked American’s in the women’s draw, Venus Williams, Coco Vanderweghe and Sloane Stephens were all beaten by Belinda Bencic, Timea Babos and Zhang Shuai respectively. Three others of the top 32 seeds, Domenika Cibulkova, Peng Shuai and Ekatarina Makarova were also ousted from the tournament on the first day.

American woe continued in the men’s draw too as two of their top 16 seeds, eight seed Jack Sock and 16th seed John Isner also both were eliminated from the event (by Yuichi Sugita and Matthew Ebden respectively). Last year’s US Open finalist and 12th seed Kevin Anderson (South Africa) also was beaten by British player Kyle Edmund, while 27th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber was another casualty losing to Yoshihito Nishioka.

All these results are suggesting, as pre-tournament experts had predicted, that it could well be the most keenly-contested Australian Open tournament in both the women’s and the men’s events in many years.

Who Will Win the Men’s and Women’s Australian Open in 2018?

Of course, one of the most popular betting markets for the event is the Outright Winner market and Coral Sport are offering a massive choice of bets on the Australian Open this year. Let’s take a look at some of the contenders for the title in both the women’s and men’s events as well as who we think will lift the title in a fortnight’s time.

  • Women’s Tournament

With three of the top 16 seeds knocked out on the first day of the tournament, this promises to be another very open female Grand Slam, as indeed many of them have been in recent times. Since Serena Williams maternity leave, there have been several new faces winning Grand Slam events and that could possibly continue in Melbourne.

Simona Halep is the top ranked player and she’ll want to improve on her first round exit in the event last year. If she does then she could well be a real threat, as could Carolina Wozniacki the Danish second seed. Both these women have performed well in tour events but are yet to make their Grand Slam breakthrough.

Third seed Garbine Muguruza has won two Grand Slam events in France (2016) and at Wimbledon (2017) but her record on hard court Grand Slam events isn’t great with her best a quarter final spot in this event last year.

Of the rest, Britain’s Jo Konta reached the semi-finals of the same event last year and will be hoping she can do as well this. Petra Kvitova too is another former semi-finalist who is probably a better player than her 27th Seeding suggests.

My tip for the Women’s event though is Karolina Pliskova, the Czech ace is a former World Number 1 and reached the Quarter Finals back in 2017 and she is a hard court specialist who has the talent and power to take the event.  You can back Pliskova to win the event at 8/1 with Coral.

  • Men’s Tournament

Andy Murray’s absence and with this being Novak Djokovic’s first Grand Slam since he was out for six months with injury, means the old guard of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are the two clear favourites for the men’s events and in truth it is hard to see past either as a potential winner this year.

Federer, last year’s winner, is the 15/8 favourite on his top surface and that looks a very decent price, as is the 4/1 you can get on Nadal. Novak Djokovic is a 6/1 chance with in-form Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov a 10/1 shot.

I can’t really make too strong of a case for anyone outside this quartet at the moment as in terms of sheer talent, the top three are the best players in the tournament while Dimitrov is the man in form who also has masses of talent.

My tip here though is for Roger Federer to win at 15/8 what would be his record-equalling sixth Australian Open title.

Coral’s Australian Open £5 Free Bet Offer

If you are a member with Coral Sport then you have access to a great new offer running for the duration of the Australian Open tournament this year. Simply place five In-Play bets of at least £5 with Coral on any Australian Open matches (between 6pm and 2pm the following day) and when you place your fifth bet, you will receive a free £5 In Play bet to use within the next 48 hours.

This offer is available for In Play bets only and the good news for punters is that there are no Minimum Odds required for this promotion, so even if you wanted to back a massive odds-on favourite to win, you can do so.

So why not enjoy some outstanding tennis betting throughout the Australian Open with Coral over the next fortnight?