Roger Federer believes Andy Murray is capable of overtaking him and becoming the new world number one ahead of the Shanghai Masters (Murray 5/2 Australian Open outright with bet365).
The Swiss maestro is currently the top-ranked player in the world, a position he has become accustom to having spent more than 300 weeks at the top of the ATP standings.
However, the 17-time Grand Slam winner knows his time at the top will be coming to an end soon and has backed Murray to succeed him as the world number one.
The Scot said after winning his first Grand Slam at the US Open this year that his next aim was to become the world number one.
Murray is currently ranked third in the world, behind Federer and Novak Djokovic, but has a chance to lay down a marker in China this week.
The world’s top three players will battle it out for the Shanghai Masters crown this week, a title Murray won last year.
If the British number one can claim the championship again Federer believes it will set him up nicely for a vital nine months to come in his quest be number one.
When asked if he could become world number one, the Swiss said: “Yes, he can do it. He should be able to have that goal. He has results that back up his chances.
“His next nine months are going to be extremely interesting to follow. I hope for him he can achieve it eventually.”
Murray will face either Bernand Tomic or Florian Mayer in the second round in Shanghai, with Tomic 6/4 to make it through, while Mayer is 1/2 with bet365.
The 2009 winner Rafael Nadal, available to back at 4/1 with bet365 in the outright betting, has said he “cannot say for sure” he will be fit for the 2013 Australian Open.
Hopes were high that the world number three would have recovered from a patella problem in his right knee in time for the first Grand Slam of next year in Melbourne, but the 26-year-old’s participation is under threat.
Nadal has not swung a competitive racquet since his shock defeat by Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon in June. He sat out the London Olympics for Spain and missed the US Open in New York City.
Now, the 11-time Grand Slam winner has cast doubt on whether he will be ready to usurp reigning champion and 11/8 bet365 favourite, Novak Djokovic.
He told the Daily Mail: “I hope you see me in Australia. That is the biggest goal for me, to come back just before then in Qatar, but I cannot say for sure it is going to happen.”
Having become the Australian Open champion, Victoria Azarenka (5/1 Wimbledon outright with bet365) has revealed she is looking to use her mental strength to claim more titles this season.
The 22-year-old managed to secure her first Grand Slam title on Saturday after seeing off the challenge of the Russian Maria Sharapova at Melbourne Park, winning the final 6-3 6-0.
It’s been a superb week for Azarenka (9/2 French Open outright with bet365), who will dethrone Caroline Wozniacki at the top of the world rankings on Monday following her success Down Under as the Danish star was knocked out in the early stages of the major event.
The Belarusian has also revealed her determination to build on her maiden Grand Slam title as she looks ahead to the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open.
Azarenka said: “I feel there is no limit.
“I really have to keep this mentality.
“It’s a dream come true. I have been dreaming and working so hard to win a Grand Slam, and being number one is a pretty good bonus for that.”
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Australian Open | Tennis Betting News | January 29, 2012 12:48 |
Rafael Nadal believes Andy Murray’s display in the five-set defeat to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open shows he has what it takes to become world number one (Murray 3/1 to win a grand slam).
Murray looked to be on the verge of finally realising his potential against Djokovic on Friday after pushing the world number one all the way.
However, he couldn’t get the job done and missed out on the chance to book his place in a third successive Australian Open final.
The British number one has constantly come unstuck against either Djokovic, Rafael Nadal of Roger Federer in his quest to finally win a major.
Murray has reached the semi-finals at the last five grand slams but hasn’t been able to get the better of any of the world’s top three when it has mattered the most.
Despite his failures Nadal believes Murray showed all the qualities against Djokovic which could make him the world number one, but only if he can change his mentality.
“He can be number one at the end of the season,” said Nadal.
“When you are able to play five grand slams in a row playing semi-finals or finals, it’s only a mental thing.”
Nadal will take on Djokovic in Sunday’s final at the Australian Open and the Spaniard is 13/10 to beat the Serb, who is 4/6.
Reigning champion Novak Djokovic is the 4/6 favourite with bet365 to retain his Australian Open crown by beating Rafael Nadal in Sunday’s final.
The Serbian came through a five-set slog against British number one Andy Murray in Melbourne on Friday which lasted almost five hours.
Djokovic, who made the breakthrough to become the best player in the world in 2011, ran out the 3-6 6-3 6-7 6-1 7-5 winner although Murray pushed him to the brink.
How much the match took out of his legs remains to be seen, with Nadal a 6/5 chance after dumping out Roger Federer in the first semi-final.
Last season Djokovic blew Murray away in the Melbourne final but it was a different story 12 months on Down Under, although ultimately the same man came out on top.
Murray is a 16/1 shot pre-tournament to end his wait for a Grand Slam win by topping the pile at the next major – the French Open which starts at the end of May.
Andy Murray says his overall good form in the Grand Slams is proof he is continuing to progress, despite the fact he is still waiting for his first major title (Murray to win Wimbledon 2012 – 6/1 with bet365).
The British number one is preparing to take on world number one Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open sem-final and knows he faces a tough ask to beat the Serb and make it through to the final.
He was well beaten by Djokovic in the final in Melbourne 12 months ago and will have to be at his very best to secure another final place this year, while also hope his opponent has an off day.
However, the Scot, who has made it to the last four in the last five Slams, believes his consistency is a sign of his ongoing improvement and gives him heart that the elusive big win is just around the corner.
Reflecting on his overall Grand Slam form, Murray said: “It’s been a good run, it’s not easy to do.
“It’s good to see that I’ve been playing my best tennis at the slams because that’s something the last couple of years I wanted to make sure I was doing.
“That wasn’t always the case and it’s good to see it (the hard work) has been paying off. I’ve been preparing the best I could for them and thankfully the tennis has been good as well.”
Murray has dropped just one set, in his opening match against Ryan Harrison, en route to Friday’s semi-final but goes into the clash knowing Djokovic remains the man to beat in men’s tennis (Djokovic 5/13, Murray 11/5, sem-final match prices with bet365).
Maria Sharapova vowed to give her all against Victoria Azarenka and win a second women’s Australian Open title in Saturday’s final (Azarenka 4/5 Sharapova 11/10 – bet365 match prices).
The Russian was forced to show all her fighting qualities to avenge her Wimbledon defeat by 21-year-old Petra Kvitova when recording a gutsy 6-2 3-6 6-4 victory in Melbourne.
The fourth seed was staring down the barrel when going a break down in the deciding set and conceded 10 double faults as her serve deserted her, but dug deep to prevail.
“I felt like in the third set she always had the advantage,” Sharapova said. “I just thought to myself you’ve just got to go for it.
“I just hung in there and got a few returns in there in the last game.”
Sharapova beat Ana Ivanovic for her third – and last – Grand Slam title four years ago and the 24-year-old insisted she had more than a puncher’s chance against her younger opponent (Sharapova to win 1st set and lose match – 5/1 bet365).
He added: “I love this sport and sometimes even if you’re not playing your best tennis, you can find a way to win.”
Victoria Azarenka expressed her “relief” at booking a first-ever Grand Slam final appearance against Maria Sharapova at the 2012 Australian Open (Azarenka 4/5 Sharapova 11/10 – 2012 Australian Open final – bet365 match prices).
The Belarusian survived an onslaught from defending champion Kim Clijsters to prevail 6-4 1-6 6-3 in an epic battle and will become the new women’s world number one if she beats the 2008 winner Sharapova.
The Russian booked her place in the final of the Melbourne showpiece by beating Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6-3 3-6 6-4 in a see-saw slug-fest lasting two hours.
“I felt like my hand is about 200 kilograms and my body is about 1,000 and everything is shaking, but that feeling when you finally win is such a relief. My God, I cannot believe it’s over. I just want to cry,” Azarenka said.
“It was just trying to stay in the moment. Kim really took over the second set and I felt there was nothing I could do. I just tried to regroup.”
Third seed Azarenka, 22, is bidding to win her first Grand Slam, while Sharapova will hope to claim a fourth Grand Slam title (Azarenka to win 2-1 – 11/4 bet365 set betting).
The final will start at about 08:30 GMT at Rod Laver Arena on Saturday.
Rafael Nadal survived a real test against Tomas Berdych before coming through 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 6-3 to book a semi-final showdown with Roger Federer (Nadal 13/10, Federer 4/6 – match betting with bet365).
Berdych had squandered break points in the first set but kept his nerve in the tie-break to take the lead, only for Nadal to break early in the second as he looked to extend a nine-match winning run against the Czech star.
The seventh seed broke back to force a second tie-break but failed to convert a set point and Nadal levelled the match, which proved to be the catalyst for the Spaniard’s domination from then on.
The match lasted four hours and 16 minutes, in complete contrast to Federer’s relative stroll over Juan Martin del Potro, with the Swiss ace winning 6-4 6-3 6-2 in less than two hours.
Nadal admitted that he was pushed all the way but insisted he was happy with his level of performance throughout his quarter-final win.
“Tired,” was Nadal’s reaction after the conclusion of the match. “But hopefully I am fine.
“The second set was key for me and I resisted well in the third and fourth sets after four hours of intense battle and I am happy how I finished physically.”
Federer is the 11/4 outright second favourite for what would be a fifth Australian Open title, with Nadal on offer at 5/1. Meanwhile, world number one Novak Djokovic heads the betting at Evens.
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Australian Open | Tennis Betting News | January 24, 2012 14:37 |
Four-time Wimbledon winner Serena Williams insists she will bounce back from her early Australian Open exit and has vowed to regain her top form this year through hard work (Williams 3/1 to win Wimbledon 2012 with bet365).
The American’s injury woes, which have plagued her for the past 12 months, again restricted her in Melbourne as she crashed out in straight sets to the unseeded Ekaterina Makarova.
Williams refused to blame the shock defeat on her ongoing injury troubles but is clearly not yet fully fit as she bids to get back to the top of the women’s game this year.
The 30-year-old, who has won 13 Grand Slam titles in a glittering career to date, was well beaten by Makarova but is confident she can have a better year in 2012.
“I never blame any injury I have because I feel like she played really well and deserved the win,” the 30-year-old said, before vowing to do all she can to improve.
“I am always thinking about things I can do better next time around. That’s usually how I respond,” she added.
“I’m already thinking about practising as soon as tomorrow. I can think of 100 things I can do.”
Makarova’s reward for beating Williams is a clash with fellow Russian and former Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova (9/2 to win Australian Open outright with bet365) in the next round.
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Australian Open | Tennis Betting News | 14:04 |