Hewitt bids farewell as Kyrgios leads Australia’s home hopes
It’s been 38 long years since Australia witnessed a home champion at the season-opening slam, but could this year’s tournament witness the breakthrough of a potential Aussie hope as a former champ departs for the final time?
The locals Down Under haven’t seen an Aussie claim the Men’s championship since Mark Edmonson in 1976, while Chris O’Neill’s Women’s title two years later was incredibly the most recent singles success in Melbourne.
There is a host of players going for glory in 2016, and none have a better chance than the outspoken Nick Kyrgios.
The 20-year-old is currently ranked 30th in the world, and reached the last-eight in Australia 12 months ago, losing to Andy Murray.
Kyrgios is confident of overcoming a foot injury for the opening Slam of the year, and at 40/1 represents the best chance of Australia seeing a home victor.
While Kyrgios is still beginning his career, Aussie legend Lleyton Hewitt will be bringing down his in Melbourne – a stunning 19 years after his debut.
The two-time Grand Slam champion – and 2005 Australian Open finalist – stated last year that this would be his grand finale.
A global crowd-favourite, Hewitt may be 500/1 for a fairytale finish, but we’re sure there’s time yet for at least one more five-set epic.
Don’t forget Bernard Tomic (80/1) either, who has progressed to the third round or better in each of his last four Australian Opens, and is still only 23-years-old.
Sam Stosur will be leading the women’s charge, with the 2011 US Open champion 100/1 to claim a famous home title.
Like Kyrgios, Stosur has been battling injury, but with such an open women’s contest looming, this could be an outsider’s year.
Behind Stosur, 21-year-old Daria Gavrilova will be taking part in just her third Aussie Open, and is 250/1 to claim a surprise success despite pulling out of the Sydney International with an injury she described as a ‘precaution’.
Ajla Tomljanovic will also be carrying the home crowd’s adorations, and the 22-year-old 500/1 shot has reached the second round in each of the last two years.
The odds suggest this isn’t a golden age for Australian tennis, but if anyone is going to bring them back to winning ways, the headline-grabbing Nick Kyrgios looks like being the person to do it.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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