Australian Open: Men's singles preview

Can Andy Murray avenge his previous final defeats?

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The Independent Online

Novak Djokovic is bidding to become the first man to win three consecutive Australian Open titles, since Australia’s Roy Emerson won five on the trot between 1963 and 1967.

The Serbian plays France’s Paul-Henri Mathieu in round one but will be relieved that his biggest rivals for the title, Roger Federer and Andy Murray, are in the other half of the draw, meaning they could only meet in the final.

Having broken his Grand Slam duck at last year’s US Open, Murray will have high hopes of doing well in Australia and avenging his defeats in the 2010 and 2011 finals. He starts against Dutchman Robin Haase but could face Argentina’s World No.7, Juan Martín del Potro, in the last eight and Roger Federer in the semi-finals.

Injury news...

Rafael Nadal is the most notable absentee from the tournament, having withdrawn due to a stomach virus that disrupted his return from injury. American No.1 John Isner has also pulled out as a result of a bruised bone in his knee.

Australian hopes...

Australia will be hoping for a home champion for the first time since 1976 when Mark Edmondson beat John Newcombe in an all-Australian final. Their best chance lies with the in-form Bernard Tomic who starts against Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer. However Tomic faces a tough route to the final with Roger Federer potentially waiting for him in round three.

Tournament odds...

Novak Djokovic – 2.08

Andy Murray – 4.6

Roger Federer – 7

Juan Martin Del Potro – 24

David Ferrer – 32

Bernard Tomic – 60

TV Coverage...

Monday 14-27 January: Live on British Eurosport

Saturday 26 January: Women's singles final – 8:25am on BBC Two

Sunday 27 January: Men's singles final – 8:15am on BBC Two