Tennis News Wire -
It's never too early for Australian Open tournament officials to start spinning their tournament. So it cannot be much of a surprise when Open boss Craig Tiley went out on a limb to make a bold prediction regarding the men's champions for next month's 2013 edition of the first major of the season.
Tiley said he sees US Open winner Andy Murray as the men's champion and Maria Sharapova as women's holder at Melbourne Park during the last weekend of January.
The choice of Murray may have been something of a shock, coming as it does at the expense of world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, defending the crown he won a year ago over the Rafael Nadal, who remains a huge question mark as he attempts a comeback after six months away with knee injuries. Roger Federer will also be bidding to become the first man in the modern era to win the event five times.
“I think, on the men’s side Andy Murray will be difficult to beat this year,” said Tiley.
“Novak is a defending champion, he is playing great tennis, he is obviously tough to beat, but I think Andy Murray is someone who we are going to see even more.”
Murray comes to Melbourne as Olympic champion, another title he earned during his breakthrough 2012 season. Tiley also calls Sharapova over No. 1 over Victoria Azarenka, who beat the Russian to claims the title a year ago.
“I think Maria was probably playing the best tennis at the end of the year. Azarenka is playing great tennis and she won here last year obviously and this was her first breakthrough,” said the Open boss.