The Australian Open, the first major tournament of this season, features 128 professional players from all over the world. Tennis fans will enjoy almost two weeks of extensive tennis played on outdoor hard courts. The preparatory tournaments held earlier this year revealed valuable clues about the competition favourites.

There's no doubt that stars such as Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray, and Rafael Nadal are the favourites. There are however, some young players eager to add Grand Slam titles to their record, such as Milos Raonic – the young Canadian player who decisively defeated Federer 6-4, 6-4 in last week’s final in Brisbane, with the Canadian player owning the match thanks to his impeccable service.There are some other promisingchallengers in the finals at Rod Laver Arena: Marin Cilic, the2014 US Open winner; Tomas Berdych, a player who consistently makes it to theupper levels of important competitions; andalso the French Jo Wilfried Tsonga, who played a final in Melbourne a few years ago.

Aside fromthese facts Novak Djokovic, the undisputed leader in the ATP ranking, still remains the main favourite. The Serbian player already hasfive titles won in Melbourne and a potential trophy in this edition wouldput him ahead of the recordfive trophies he currently holds along with Federer.Djokovic’s competitors will be facing a genuine gladiator, a thorough player with a machine-like steady game, a robot of world tennis.

Rafael Nadal seems to be getting back into his former shape. Still, "The King of Clay" was literally shattered in last week’s Doha final. Djokovic managed to defeat Nadal 6-1 6-2 and reaffirm his domination of the men's tennis circuit. Federer maywell have some surprises in store; however the Swiss Master has reached an age thatwill make defeatingthe Serbian player hard work.

And Andy Murray, the last of “The Big Four”, has already stated a few weeks ago that he would abandon the tournament if his wife Kim gave birth prematurely. Thus Djokovic may become the most illustrious Open Era Melbourne winner. Still there is a long way to go. We are looking forward to the nearly two weeks of spectacular tennis and to seeing the tennis court become a fighting arena for the ATP gladiators.

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