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Australian Open 2017: Top 5 contenders for the title

Here's a look at the top picks for this year's Australian Open, which begins at Melbourne Park on the 9th of January, 2017.

Top 5 / Top 10 10 Jan 2017, 09:15 IST

These are certainly exciting times for a tennis fan. We're just a few days from the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open, and we still don't have a clear favorite heading in to the tournament.

While Novak Djokovic and the new world no.1 Andy Murray may have stronger chances than the others, only a fool would write off a player like Milos Raonic, who's been moving up the ladder ever so fast. Let us take a look at the players who go into the tournament with the strongest chances of winning -

1) Novak Djokovic

DOHA, QATAR - JANUARY 7 : Novak Djokovic of Serbia serves the ball to Andy Murray of Great Britain during the men's singles final match of the ATP Qatar Open tennis competition held at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex on January 7, 2017 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by AK BijuRaj/Getty Images)
Djokovic has dominated the Australian Open like no other player in history

It's safe to say that Melbourne Park is Djokovic's fortress. The 29 year old has triumphed six times at this venue, the most by any player in the history of the game.  He's won here five times in the last six years, and goes into this year's tournament as the two-time defending champion.

But things are expected to be trickier this time around for the Serb, for there have been happenings, both on and off the court, that could affect his performance at the Open. This will be the first Grand Slam that the Serb will be playing without Boris Becker by his side.

It may be recalled that the duo had split late last year, and it is uncertain on what terms exactly. 

Becker has been instrumental in Djokovic's success in Australia. It'll be really interesting, therefore, to see how Djokovic performs sans Becker in Melbourne.

Djokovic did not have the best last three months of 2016, a phase that saw him lose his no.1 ranking to Andy Murray. He went into a self-admitted slump. "I haven’t felt that confident on court and didn’t play that consistent", said Djokovic, about his relatively poor run of form at the fag end of the 2016 season.

But Djokovic has shown in the first week of the year at Doha, that he's found that hunger back again, and is determined to snatch back that numero uno spot from Murray. Djokovic beat Murray in the final of the ATP 250 event, a match where both the players pushed their bodies to the extreme limit.

Djokovic seems to have got his mojo back, and will be eager to prove doubters wrong at this year's Australian Open. 

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