Serena Williams should be active in the International Premier Tennis League soon. The World No. 2 is a part of the Singapore Slammers, a tennis team that contests the four-team late-fall tennis league. Other than that, the former World No. 1 is expected to play in Auckland in early January as a part of the build up to the 2017 Australian Open. The first Grand Slam of the 2017 season is one that she has won on six occasions. She and defending-champion Angelique Kerber are the betting favorites to win the tournament this upcoming season.

Melbourne Park challenging for Williams

The Australian Open has proven to be a big challenge for Williams to win in recent years.

She went back-to-back in 2009 and 2010, however she has only won one of the last five tournaments from Melbourne Park. The American is considered the betting favorite with bet365 at 19/10. However, if you take the results from 2012 to 2016 at face value (she didn't play in 2011) then it's clear that her betting odds should be longer. The American is 1-4 for titles at Melbourne Park in the last five seasons. Accordingly, I think reasonably odds, as a debating starting point on Williams, start at about 4 to 1. From there, I would adjust for her age and put her at more like 11 to 2.

Angelique Kerber the true favorite?

Angelique Kerber should be a stronger favorite than Williams in my view. The defending champion, who also won the 2016 US Open, has proven that she has a flare for the hard-court majors.

The German can be found at 5 to 1 with William Hill, odds that I think are about right on the top-ranked player in the world. One nagging question with Kerber is how she will respond to being a first-time defending champion at a Grand Slam. Thus far, in lesser events, being the World No. 1 has not seemed to help her.

Kerber is still searching for her maiden title since ascending to the top of the WTA rankings.

Looking at the longer list of favorites, I think an interesting player is Caroline Wozniacki. The Dane was dangerous in the months that concluded the 2016 season and I'm looking for her to continue her efforts in 2017.

Currently, Wozniacki is way out at 40 to 1 with bet365, odds that have shortened over the last little while. According to my notes, Caroline Wozniacki's betting odds were 66 to 1 with the same firm following the US Open.

The 2017 Australian Open starts on January 16th and it runs to the 29th. Beforehand, tennis fans can watch next week's International Premier Tennis League and the smaller events that will be featured in cities like Auckland, Shenzhen, and Brisbane.

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