Sunday, 13 January 2013

Aussie Open

It's time for serious tennis once again. It's also time for John Hovis to give some thoughts on the draw, remind everyone of his predictions and provide nuggets of wisdom on the tournament. Down to business.
The heat will have a huge bearing on the outcome, not only of the final but in key matches of the early rounds. Certain players adapt well to extreme heat, e.g. Serena, Djoko, Fed, Murray. Others seem to struggle, particularly the younger players. It is worth keeping tabs on the weather and who gets the plum evening matches...
The courts appear to be marginally quicker this year, although weather will play a role in this area too. Heat and humidity will again be a key factor.
Form going into the tournament does not necessarily mean the guarantee of a good tournament. Davydenko, Dmitrov, Radwanska, Tomic and Ferrer have all been playing very competent tennis recently. Davydenko and Tomic may well come up against Fed. Ferrer has a tough draw, as does Dmitrov.
I expect some surprises. Fed hasn't hit a ball in anger and is notoriously slow out of the blocks. He may not even reach the quarters for the first time since 1934. I suspect that it won't be seen as a disaster within the RF camp should that happen. Del Potro may have a tough time going deep into the tournament, as may Raonic despite heavy expectations this year. John Hovis can see early exits for Azarenka & Kvitova.
Finally, having watched the warm-up tournaments, JH will reiterate his predictions. Murray and Serena. I would like Fed to win one more Aussie Open but a combination of rustiness and a very tough draw will put paid to that.
Another of the JH Wimbledon photos, from the Murray v Baghdatis match.

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