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Is world number one ranking a curse for Murray?

Frank Monkhouse | 17 March 2017

Scot out early in Indian Wells

Sir Andy Murray couldn’t have hoped for a better end to 2016, but 2017 hasn’t been quite so kind to the world number one, and he looks in danger of losing his place as the highest ranked player in the sport.

A shock loser in the second-round of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, he was dumped by qualifier Vasek Pospisil. The 26-year-old Canadian had done little in previous meetings with Muzza, but always looked in control on-route to that famous win, coming out on top courtesy of a 6-4, 7-6 score.

Andy Murray has been knocked out of the US Open, but there's still money to be made on betting on this Grand Slam.

No need to panic

This year’s disappointment continues Murray’s poor run of form at this competition, and he didn’t do much better last time, bowing out at the third-round stage. So, is the British star struggling under the pressure of being world number one, or was it just another below-par effort in a tournament he can’t seem to get to grips with?

Murray did pick up his first Dubai Championships gong recently, which would’ve given real encouragement, and Coral traders have him as 10/3 third-favourite for the French Open, behind Djokovic at 15/8 and Nadal’s 2/1. We make Andy a lot more likely to score at Wimbledon again though, and punters looking to support the pride of British tennis will find him as 7/4 joint-fav with old rival Novak.

2016 Australian Open - Day Five - Melbourne Park

Djokovic aiming for four in-a-row

29-year-old Novak Djokovic won this title last year and victory this time out would be his fourth on the spin, and his sixth overall. It’s little surprise to see the Serb marked up as favourite in the betting, especially in Murray’s absence, and Coral punters who fancy keeping that form close will be delighted to see our traders handing out as much as 12/5. For a man with his stats in this format, that looks like a big slice of value.

If you’d prefer to go with something a bit bigger, Federer was a beaten finalist in two of the last three years, and has banked the prize money four times, last in 2012, when beating John Isner in the final. The 2017 Australian Open king can be picked up at 7/1 to do the business again here, and that’s surely worth a second look.

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