Serena Williams starts Grand Slam quest at Australian Open
Serena Williams’s coach Patrick Mouratoglou reckons that the 17-times major champion can win the Grand Slam this year and Coral are going 8/1 that he is right.
The 32-year-old world number one’s first task is to win a sixth Australian Open, which starts on Monday and to do that she will have to prevent Victoria Azarenka from winning that event for the third year running.
Serena is 8/11 to get the ball rolling in Melbourne before she targets the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. Coral rate her a 9/4 chance to win one major this year, 13/8 she wins two, 7/2 she wins three and 6/1 she ends 2014 empty handed.
The American does have a ‘Serena Slam’ to her credit (she held all four majors at one time at the start of 2003), but now she is bidding to become the first woman since Steffi Graf in 1988 to win the Grand Slam proper in the same calendar year.
The men’s event has been dominated by the BIg Four – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray – in recent years, although the recently crowned Sports Personality of the Year has been a beaten finalists three times in the last four times without winning it.
Sadly, that is now the Big Three with the decline of Federer and it is Djokovic who is the 10/11 favourite with Coral as he goes for his fourth Australian Open in a row and fifth in all.
Nadal, who missed last year’s tournament with a knee injury, but then returned in spectacular fashion to win ten events during 2013, including the French Open and the US Open, is second favourite at 5/2 with Murray, himself returning from back surgery, a 6/1 chance to break his Melbourne bogey.
The sub-plot here relates to the recent appointment as coaches of Grand Slam winners Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker by Federer and Djokovic respectively. It worked for Murray when he took on Ivan Lendl, but it’s not something Nadal has been tempted to do – he is still coached by his Uncle Toni.
It’s hard to look beyond these three (along perhaps with the immensely talented 10/1 shot Juan Martin del Potro), but this first major of the year has thrown up half a dozen finalists this millennium who were never, or have never been, ranked higher than five in their career.