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Seeding puts Djokovic in trouble against Nadal at Australian Open

Backing the top seeds to win any of the men’s Grand Slams in recent years would have emphatically left punters out of pocket, but if there has been one where it has paid to follow the top seed, it has been the Australian Open.

Looking back over the period from 2008 onwards, of the 24 Grand Slam tournaments to have taken place, only seven have been won by the leading seed in the men’s draw.

In fact, no top seed has won Wimbledon since 2007, the top seed has lifted the US Open just twice in the same period and only once has the top seed triumphed at the French Open since 2004.

This doesn’t bode well for those looking to take advantage of Rafael Nadal’s odds of 5/2 to win the Australian Open, but top seeds do perform a lot better in Melbourne than in the other Grand Slams.

Six of the last eight Melbourne winners in the men’s draw have been top seeds, including in each of the last two years.

Novak Djokovic is the obvious candidate in the Australian Open betting at 10/11, having won the Grand Slam in each of the last three years and ending 2013 on a 26-match unbeaten run, following his defeat to Nadal in the final of the US Open.

However, punters have to look back to 2004 to find the last instance of a men’s second seed winning the Australian Open, when Roger Federer secured the first of his titles when beating Marat Safin.

This is in comparison to the second seed winning the French Open five times in the last seven years and five of the last six at Wimbledon.

Also against Djokovic is that no player has won the Australian Open four times in succession in the current era, with Roy Emerson the last to accomplish this feat in the time the Slam was called the Australian Championships.