Australian Open 2017 betting preview: Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and more

Here we look ahead to next year's Australian Open as Andy Murray looks to cement his status as world number one

World number one Andy Murray Photo: Marianne Bevis

Andy Murray will start the 2017 Australian Open as the favourite – but which players can challenge the world number one in the year’s first Grand Slam?

The British number one enjoyed a spectacular end to the 2016 season after the Scot won the ATP World Tour finals for the first time in his career.

Murray eased to a 6-3 6-4 victory over his old adversary Novak Djokovic in the final in the English capital to secure the world number one ranking.

The Wimbledon champion finished the season with 78 victories and nine defeats, amassing prize money of $13,327,821 over the past 11 months.

It’s easy to forget that Murray reached three Grand Slam finals in 2016 but lost to Djokovic at the Australian Open and the French Open.

The Scot has now lost five Australian Open finals and Murray is sure to target the year’s first Grand Slam and win his inaugural Major Down Under.

Naturally, when looking at Australian Open betting, Djokovic will be heavily fancied given his superb record at the Grand Slam tournament.

The world number two has won six Australian Open titles since his first success in 2008 when he beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in four sets.

As mentioned above, Djokovic beat Murray in Melbourne in 2016 after a surprisingly comfortable three-set victory over the Scot.

In fact, the Serbian has beaten Murray in four of his six Australian Open finals.

Elsewhere, Stan Wawrinka is another player capable of causing the big two problems. The Swiss number one beat Rafael Nadal in five sets to win his Grand Slam title in Melbourne in 2014.

The 31-year-old is currently number four in the world and he will surely be a contender for 2017’s first major.

His compatriot Roger Ferderer will be aiming for a fifth Australian Open title to edge closer Djokovic’s tally as the former world number one enters the twilight of his career.

The 35-year-old finished the year as world number 16, so arguably tennis’ greatest-ever player has work to do.

Milos Raonic, 25, will certainly be a player to watch in the 2017 season. The Canadian finished 2016 in fine form as he pushed Murray all the way in the semi-finals at The O2.

The big server lost to Murray in straight sets in the Wimbledon final after he had reached the Australian Open final last year.

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