Here’s our take on the Australian Open prediction game: we asked the AO.com writing team to give us six headlines they expect to emerge from this year’s tournament, be they winners, stunners, or players having shockers – and there’s already a standout clairvoyant clash before you reach midway! Crystal balls at the ready…
Federer defends title for Grand Slam No.20
By Linda Pearce
In 2017, they said it wasn’t possible. Roger Federer was just too old. He’d been out for almost six months. Hadn’t won a major for more than four years. Was it time to put the GOAT out to pasture? Not when a spell – and a fierce new backhand – was all that was needed to work such wonders that he counts the fifth set of the Australian Open final against one-time nemesis Rafael Nadal as the best he's ever played. So this year, with so many rivals absent or struggling physically, why not? Why can’t it happen for a sixth time at Melbourne Park for his 20th slam? No reason. The draw is reasonable, despite danger man David Goffin lurking in his quarter. And this is RF. Anything’s possible. Consider it probable, again.
Nick Kyrgios crowned first Aussie AO champ since 1976
By Vivienne Christie
After 2017 passed without lifting a trophy, it’s already a season of change for Nick Kyrgios, who defied any home pressure with victory in Brisbane. Now comes the chance for a bigger breakthrough with a maiden major in Melbourne. After a first round against Rogerio Dutra Silva potential tests will come from fast-rising Denis Shapovalov or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the third round and Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth. But the latter was among Kyrgios’ victims in Brisbane and Kevin Anderson, the other big seed in his quarter, is manageable too. It’s not easy to claim a major title as the 17th seed – but it didn’t hurt Roger Federer in 2017.