The draw for the 2011 Australian Open was declared on Friday, and let’s take a quick look at where the top 4 men players stand, and their respective portion of the draw…
The first Grand Slam of 2011, the Australian Open is all set to get underway in just over a couple of days time, and the men’s and women’s draw for this prestigious tournament was declared on Friday. With the first Grand Slam of the year playing a significant role in determining a players form in the current year, all eyes are on who will be taking home the trophy.
As the years roll by, the dominance of single players on tennis has slowly but surely declined, with perhaps only Rafael Nadal being a dominant player in these times. Gone are the days where players like Pete Sampras and Roger Federer could dominate the tennis scene the way they did just a few years ago. With the upcoming talent, and not to mention the declining health of Nadal and the increasing age of Federer, tournaments are now easier to win for other players as well. Will 2011 see a change in the champions of the grand slam? Well, while many have a chance, let’s take a quick look at the men’s singles draw for the top 4 players, and what it has in store for them.
Australian Open Draw – Men’s Singles
As usual, the draw features 128 players from across the globe, and these are players who qualify for the tournament based on the computer rankings. However, there are slots for players who play to qualify for the Australian Open, as there are slots for wildcard players. All in all 128 players make it to the tennis courts at Melbourne Park, eager to win the Grand Slam of Asia Pacific, the Australian Open.
The draw is divided into 4 quarters, with one of the top four seeds going in each quarter. The number 1 and 2 seeds are in the top and bottom half of the draw, while the number 3 and 4 seeds are in the top quarter of the bottom half, and the bottom quarter of the top half respectively. This year the top 4 are Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Robin Soderling. Andy Murray drops to number 5 in the Australian Open 2011 seeding. Let’s take a look at the players in the top 4 seeds quarters, and see who is the most likely to make it to the final.
Top Seed Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal is the top seed at the Australian Open 2011, and is the favorite to win the title, based on his victory at the last 3 grand slams he played. Winning the French Open, the Wimbledon, and the US Open, and that too with Roger Federer playing, was no mean feat, and the number 1 player in the world hopes and believes, he can do it here at the Melbourne Park as well. Should he win the Australian Open 2011, Nadal will be the only player holding all the 4 grand slam titles in the 52 weeks of an ATP calendar, a rare, if not unmatched feat. Here is who can stop him in his attempt to create history.
The highest seed in Nadal’s quarter is David Ferrer, the 7th seed. However, players like Mikhail Youzhny, the 10th seed, and Marin Cilic, the 15th seed can also pose problems to Nadal. In addition, there are also John Isner, Michael Llodra, David Nalbandian, and Feliciano Lopez, who are all seeded players who will definitely try to give Nadal the competition he craves for. A host of unseeded players will try to make history as well, with attempts to defeat the number 1 tennis player in the world. However, on the whole, Nadal’s quarter of the draw looks relatively easy, at least until the 4th round. A quarterfinal match up with Soderling or Murray looms large, and the Spaniard will have to navigate through that, if he wants to get back the crown he lost here to Federer last year.
Rafael Nadal plays Marcos Daniel in his first round match.
2nd Seed Roger Federer
After a dismal 2010, Roger Federer is looking for Grand Slam titles, and fast, as everyone knows, himself included, that he is not getting younger. Already the holder of 16 Grand Slams titles, more than any man alive, Federer is not satisfied, and wants more. His 2010 Australian Open victory will give him the confidence he needs here, as will the way with which he ended the 2010 season. Defeating Nadal at the ATP World Tour Finals, and a good start to the 2011 season with the Doha title already under his belt, means that the tennis fraternity has not yet seen the back of Roger Federer. He will want to retain his 2010 title, and indeed, he needs to if he wants to climb back up to the top spot in Men’s Tennis. This is how his quarter of the draw looks.
Andy Roddick, at number 8, is the highest seed in Federer’s part of the draw, and in all probability, this will be the 4th round match. But to get there both players will have to play exceptional tennis and get past a few players. Looking at it from Federer’s point of view, Andy Roddick, the 8th seed, and Gael Monfils, the 12th seed, have the highest chances to stop Federer from going to the quarterfinals from this quarter of the draw. However, players like Mardy Fish, the 16th seed, Sam Querrey, the 18th seed, and Stanislas Wawrinka, the 19th seed all have the potential to stop the world number 2 making it to yet another quarterfinal. Also, a host of other players, both seeded and unseeded are there in his path to the last 8. The most likely result is a Federer-Roddick 4th round, with Federer moving up to the quarterfinal, where another tough match will await him.
Roger Federer plays Lukas Lacko in his first round match.
3rd Seed Novak Djokovic
The 3rd seed, Novak Djokovic, will be wanting to start his 2011 campaign with a title at the same place where he has won his only Grand Slam title. Having been stuck at the number 3 position, seemingly forever, has left the Serb frustrated, and perhaps this is the year where he starts winning slams. He has come mighty close on many occasions, only to be knocked out by the dynamic duo who rule tennis at the moment, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. However, potential and age, are in favor of Djokovic, and taking home the title is not at all out of the question. His toughest match will probably the quarterfinals, where he will most probably play Federer once again. Let’s take a look if he can get that far.
With players like 6th seed Tomas Berdych, 9th seed Fernando Verdasco, 14th seed Nicolas Almagro, and 23rd seed Nikolay Davydenko all in his portion of the draw, Novak Djokovic has his work cut out for him to just qualify for the quarterfinals. Besides those, there are a host of other players, like Viktor Troicki, Ivo Karlovic, Janko Tipsarevic, and Ivan Ljubicic who can all put an end to the Serbian’s dream of capturing his 2nd Australian Open title. And even if he manages to get past these obstacles, he faces the mighty Federer in the quarterfinal. A rather tough draw for the 3rd seed.
Novak Djokovic takes on Marcel Granollers in his first round encounter.
4th Seed Robin Soderling
Soldering makes it as the 4th seed this year, with Andy Murray’s name conspicuously missing from the top 4 in quite a while now. After being in 2 Grand Slam finals and losing both, the Swede will be looking for his maiden Grand Slam title at the Australian Open. More popularly known as the only player to defeat Rafa at the French Open in the last 5 years, Robin Soderling has shown that he can take on the big names and come out on the top. A chance to win the Australian Open means not only his first Grand Slam, but also the potential to displace Djokovic from the number 3 spot. Let’s take a look at who can pour cold water on his dreams.
Of course, the 4th round match up will most likely be the Murray-Soderling match, but with the inconsistent game of Andy Murray, anything can happen. In Soderling’s part of the draw, besides Andy Murray, players like Jurgen Melzer, the 11 seed, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 13th seed, have the most potential to stop the Swede from reaching the quarterfinal. Other players like Thomaz Bellucci, Ernests Gulbis, and Marcos Baghdatis are the other potential roadblocks in Soderling way to the quarters. Of course, should he reach the quarters, he will play none other than Rafael Nadal for a place in the semis, a match that no tennis fan should miss.
Robin Soderling starts his campaign against Potito Starace in the first round.
There you have it, the top 4 seeds at the 2011 Australian Open, and how their quarter of the draw looks like. While a Nadal Federer final is looking likely, given Nadal’s draw, and the way Federer is playing, anything is possible in this game called tennis. The only sure thing is this: the draw ensures that it is going to be one hell of a tournament, so you had better keep yourself free during that time.
Before we end this, here is my 2 cents on the Australian Open: look out for a Rafael Nadal-Roger Federer final, with Federer coming through in 4 sets!! Think that’s too bold, too early?? Well, please feel free to leave us a comment, and also do not forget to poll for your winner of the 2011 Australian Open. Till Monday, when the action starts, this is goodbye.