Now onto some of the others to watch (or not):
Tsonga – plays his best tennis here and his early season form has been pretty impressive. Took federer fairly close and then had some decent form at Kooyong. However, the draw has been unkind. Veteran Clement in round 2 will always be tricky and then Gulbis followed by Soderling means he’ll certainly have to hold serve a lot just to keep pace. However, momentum is a powerful thing at the Aussie Open and if his knees are OK and he finds form, he can beat anyone. I backed him at 140/1 two weeks ago, was backed across the board until the draw and is now rightly drifting back to 130/1 on betfair. However, he remains a great each way bet (either trade out on betfair in final – or take 100/1 with a bookie). You never know, a couple of shocks and his draw could open up. There are a lot of players with lower odds who will not give you half the chance or the fun + he’ll get the crowd on side and at the aussie open that can be a big help.
Monfils – Another frenchman with bags of talent and flamboyance. But there were signs towards the end of last season that he was finally learning to put the clown act to one side and just concentrate on playing good tennis. As fit as anyone and a dangerous floater. His potential back injury a potential worry but i’ll be keeping an eye on his round one form. A convincing and injury free win over a decent opponent in De Bakker and i may be getting involved mid-tournament. 160/1 on betfair currently – will be interesting to see how quickly that dries up.
Troicki – this clearly goes against my djokovic tip, but Troicki seems to have come on leaps and bounds in the last year. Gone are the days when he would lose comfortably to top 30 players. He seems to feel more confident in his ability to compete at that level. A complete flyer yes, but might be worth a little bet at a huge price with an eye on trading out should he make it to quarters or semis.
Del Potro – This has surely come to soon in his comeback. Loss to Mayer last week certainly suggests so. May get a big win somewhere but can’t see him going too deep.
Gulbis – Slowly seems to be realising his potential. Big weapons and a bundle of talent but fitness a big concern considering his retirements last season and his comments the other day after his match with Andreev (only 3 sets). Not one to back for the tournament but one to keep an eye on for a shock if he makes it round 3. Would be interesting to see how the bookies price him against Tsonga.
Ones to avoid in my opinion: Berdych (poor form), Davydenko (poor grand slam record), Nalbandian (tough draw).