The World Tour Finals in London provided a brilliant curtain call to what was a fantastic 2013 of tennis. We witnessed the return of Rafael Nadal as well as Andy Murray becoming the first British Wimbledon winner since the late Fred Perry. So, as the players take a well-earned rest, we look ahead to next year's Australian Open.
The Australian Open commencing in January is the first of the four major tennis tournaments. Defending champion Novak Djokovic will be hoping that he can continue his magnificent 22 match unbeaten streak into next year. The Serbian has won the Australian Open four times and is 6/4 favourite with Betfair to win his fifth title. The hard courts used at the Rod Laver Arena suit Djokovic's style perfectly, utilising the pace of the court to run his opponents ragged.
Djokovic finished the season in incredible style, seeing off Rafael Nadal in the World Tour Finals; if he continues that form next year then he is going to be notoriously difficult to beat.
The current world number one Rafael Nadal had a fantastic 2013, battling back from injury to claim two major titles and eight other ranking titles. The Spaniard is the second favourite with Betfair to win the tournament and with his new aggressive style of play he has a fantastic chance of winning; on the hard courts in America Nadal looked unstoppable. If Nadal starts 2014 like he finished 2013 then he is going to be the man to beat. Whoever prevails out of Djokovic and Nadal will be victorious in Melbourne.
This Australian Open could have one glaring omission in the form of Andy Murray. The Scot missed the World Tour Finals and is struggling with a back problem. The absence of the Scot paves way for a Djokovic/Nadal final due to the gulf in class between the “Big Three” and the other ranking players. The Australian Open will be the first of many Djokovic/Nadal finals that will be played in 2014.