Andy Murray will retire after Wimbledon. Photo: William WEST / AFP
Andy Murray will retire after Wimbledon. Photo: William WEST / AFPSource: AFP

Andy Murray’s tearful announcement that 2019 will be his last as a professional tennis player has been met with widespread shock, but also adulation.

The former world No. 1 broke down at a press conference at Melbourne Park, saying he’s been “struggling for a long time” and that Wimbledon would be his last dance.

FULL AUS OPEN DRAW: AUSSIE MEN HANDED BRUTAL OPENERS

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Andy, I know you take me for a joker most of the time, but at least hear me out on this one old friend. You will always be someone that impacted the sport in so many different ways, I know this was never the way you wanted to go out, but hey it was a heck of a ride. You took me under your wing as soon as I got on tour, and to this day you have been someone I literally just look forward to seeing. You are one crazy tennis player, miles better than me, but I just want you to know that today isn’t only a sad day for you and your team, it’s a sad day for the sport and for everyone you’ve had an impact on. Which leaves me big fella.. these are a couple photos, that should make you smile and think, I was actually a little bit of a younger brother to you. Anyways, I just want you to know, and I’m sure you already do, everyone wants you to keep fighting and to keep being you. Goodluck at the Australian Open muzz, I’ll be behind you. #onelastdance 🙌🏽🙏🏽

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“You are one crazy tennis player, miles better than me, but I just want you to know that today isn’t only a sad day for you and your team, it’s a sad day for the sport and for everyone you’ve had an impact on.

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“Which leaves me big fella. These are a couple photos, that should make you smile and think, I was actually a little bit of a younger brother to you.

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“Anyways, I just want you to know, and I’m sure you already do, everyone wants you to keep fighting and to keep being you. Goodluck at the Australian Open Muzz, I’ll be behind you.”

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Juan Martin del Potro withdrew from this year’s Australian Open because of injury, but was left devastated after watching Murray’s emotional press conference.

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“Please don’t stop trying,” del Potro said.

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“I can imagine your pain and sadness. I hope you can overcome this.

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“You deserve to retire on your own terms, whenever that happens.

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“We love you Andy Murray and we want to see you happy and doing well.”

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Andy, just watched your conference. Please don’t stop trying. Keep fighting. I can imagine your pain and sadness. I hope you can overcome this. You deserve to retire on your own terms, whenever that happens. We love you @andy_murray and we want to see you happy and doing well. 🙏

— Juan M. del Potro (@delpotrojuan) January 11, 2019

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“I tip my cap to Andy Murray,” Roddick said.

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“Absolute legend. Short list of best tacticians in history.

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“Unreal results in a brutal era. Nothing but respect here. I hope he can finish strong and healthy.”

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Andy Roddick also suggested Murray could bow out of tennis by partnering up with his brother, Jamie, at Wimbledon.

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“Would be a pretty cool moment to play doubles (with) his bro at Wimby if he can’t play singles,” Roddick said.

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Just thinking out loud here. He deserves his moment to say goodbye at Wimbledon. He’s too important to Great Britain and Wimbledon history to not have it….. Would be a pretty cool moment to play doubles w his bro at Wimby if he can’t play singles https://t.co/m7caeL2shX

— andyroddick (@andyroddick) January 11, 2019

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WHAT YOU CONTROVERSIALLY WON’T SEE AT THIS YEAR’S AUSTRALIAN OPEN

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TENNIS WORLD IN AWE OF ‘BEST SHOT I’VE SEEN’

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DEMON WINS ALL-AUSSIE QUARTERFINAL TO ADVANCE IN SYDNEY

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THE SERENA SITUATION: IS IT THE CHAMPION AGAINST THE REST?

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Darren Cahill — who has coached the likes of Andre Agassi, Lleyton Hewitt and Simona Halep, as well as Murray — was confident Murray would retire a content man.

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“When you search for example of ‘emptied the bucket to be as good as they could be’ there should be a picture of Andy Murray sitting under that quote,” Cahill said.

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“Remarkable discipline for training, competition, sacrifice, perfection, a little crazy, but a legend of a bloke.

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“Bravo Andy.”

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When you search for examples of “emptied the bucket to be as good as they could be” there should be a picture of Andy Murray sitting under that quote. Remarkable discipline for training, competition, sacrifice, perfection, a little crazy 😃 but a legend of a bloke. Bravo Andy 👏

— Darren Cahill (@darren_cahill) January 11, 2019

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A raw and emotional first press conference at this #AusOpen, with Andy Murray accepting his tennis mortality and saying that Wimbledon this year, at the latest, will be his \”end point.\”

— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 11, 2019

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While a number of tennis personalities touched on Murray’s personality on and off the court, Andrea Petkovic spoke glowingly of Murray as a champion for women’s tennis.

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“He was always my favorite, and I think it will be a huge loss for tennis in general, but also for the WTA,” the German said.

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“Because even nowadays, when you think everything is equal, you still need men, especially successful men, to speak up for women.”

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Ashleigh Barty has continued her giantkilling run at the Sydney International with a thrilling three-set semi-final win over big-hitting world No.9 Kiki Bertens.

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Barty withstood 15 aces from Bertens and rallied from a set down to beat the Dutchwoman 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 7-5 in a quality two-hour, 18-minute encounter on Friday to advance to her second-successive final in Sydney.

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The Australian No.1 will play Czech fifth seed Petra Kvitova or Serbian qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich in Saturday’s final, hoping to complete the perfect lead-up for next week’s Australian Open in Melbourne.

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After taking out 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in the first round, Barty has toppled world No.1 Simona Halep, the 12th-ranked Elise Mertens and Bertens to send an ominious warning to her Open rivals.

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TAKE A LOOK AT THE ULTIMATE AUSTRALIAN OPEN GUIDE

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“It’s amazing — it truly has been a phenomenal week of tennis,” Barty said. “I feel like I’ve played great the whole week. I’ve had tough opponents every single round and I’m really excited to have another shot at the title.”

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The world No.15 has shown remarkable mental resolve to back up her career-best win over Halep two days ago.

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“Both Elise and Kiki were amazing opponents so that I knew I had to be switched on and play my best tennis to win.

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“That’s the best part of this tournament. It’s so strong; every single round could be a final.

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“So I have to be ready now and then I get to come out and enjoy tomorrow.”

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Barty said it would be a dream to become the first Australian winner in Sydney since Alicia Molik 14 years ago.

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Molik, who was courtside for Friday’s win, went on to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals a week later.

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“It would be amazing,” the 22-year-old said.

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“Mol — my Fed Cup captain, so I would love to try to be the next Australian. “But I’ll come out here tomorrow to enjoy it.”

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Barty battled back from an early service break down, only to blow a 4-1 lead in the first-set tiebreaker on Ken Rosewall Arena.

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Aided by three-consecutive unforced errors, including a double fault, Bertens reeled off six-straight points to snatch the opening set.

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“I missed my opportunity in the first set. I changed my mind a couple of times in that tiebreak and it cost me,” Barty said.

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“I knew all I had to do was hang around and fight as hard as I could and try to change it to my favour.”

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The eyes of the sporting world are fixed on Australia as the 2019 tennis season begins in Melbourne.

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The draw has thrown up plenty of intrigue as the top stars all descend on Melbourne; but even though Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams are the favourites, as usual, there are no sure things.

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Here’s everything you need to know ahead of this year’s event.

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WHEN IS THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN?

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The 2019 Australian Open will be held at Melbourne Park from January 14 to 27.

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The exact order of play for each day will be announced on the previous day, but we do know on which days players will feature.

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The bottom half of both the Men’s and Women’s Singles draws will play on the opening Monday (including Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer).

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The top half of both the Men’s and Women’s Singles draws will play on Tuesday (including Simona Halep, Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev).

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The halves will then alternate, ie the bottom half playing on Wednesday/Friday, the top half on Thursday/Saturday, etc.

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HOW CAN I WATCH THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN?

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The Australian TV broadcast has moved from Channel 7 to Nine.

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Until the semi-finals, the main Nine channel will broadcast play from 10am to 6pm, with a break from 6-7pm for local news (the broadcast will move to 9GO! at this time from Jan 14-19, then to 9Gem from Jan 20-24), then returning to Nine until the end of play.

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A secondary broadcast of other matches will be shown all day on 9Gem from Monday January 14 to Saturday January 19.

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From January 25-27, broadcasts will begin in the afternoon due to later start times. Check your local listings for more details.

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WHAT PRIZE MONEY IS ON OFFER?

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The total prize money for the 2019 Australian Open is $62.5 million, up 14 per cent on last year.

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For the Men’s and Women’s Singles, the prize money is:

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Winner – $4,100,000

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Runner-up – $2,050,000

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Semi-final – $920,000

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Quarter-final – $460,000

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Round 4 – $260,000

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Round 3 – $155,000

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Round 2 – $105,000

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Round 1 – $75,000

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WHAT IS THE WEATHER FORECAST?

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It’s like the sun itself realises, “oh, the tennis is on. Time to make it really hot!”

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The current forecast suggests the hottest part of the tournament will be the first two days, when it’s projected to reach 37 and 35 degrees respectively.

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After 34 on Wednesday, it’s expected to cool to around 30 until the weekend, when it’s predicted to reach a top of 27 for both Saturday and Sunday.

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It’s then expected to stay around the high 20s, with a 33 on the second Thursday and then temperatures in the mid 20s for the rest of the tournament.

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WHO ARE THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN FAVOURITES?

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All odds courtesy of Sportsbet

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MEN

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Novak Djokovic ($2.25)

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Roger Federer ($5)

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Rafael Nadal ($13)

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Alexander Zverev ($13)

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Kei Nishikori ($21)

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Karen Khachanov ($26)

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Kevin Anderson ($34)

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Marin Cilic ($34)

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Grigor Dimitrov ($34)

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Borna Coric ($41)

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Dominic Thiem ($41)

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Stefanos Tsitsipas ($41)

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Others quoted

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WOMEN

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Serena Williams ($5.50)

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Angelique Kerber ($7)

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Naomi Osaka ($13)

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Aryna Sabalenka ($13)

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Ash Barty ($15)

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Karolina Pliskova ($15)

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Elina Svitolina ($15)

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Simona Halep ($17)

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Caroline Wozniacki ($21)

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Petra Kvitova ($21)

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Kiki Bertens ($26)

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Sloane Stephens ($26)

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Others quoted

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LEADING HOPES, BEST OUTSIDER AND AUSSIES (by Darren Walton, AAP)

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MEN

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NOVAK DJOKOVIC (SRB)

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Age: 31

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Ranking: 1

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Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

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Career prize money: $US125,847,879 ($A178.50 million)

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Career titles: 72

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Grand slam titles: 14 (Australian Open 2008, 2011-2013, 2015-16; French Open 2016; Wimbledon 2011, 2014, 2015, 2018; US Open 2011, 2015, 2018)

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Australian Open win-loss record: 61-8

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Best Australian Open results: champion 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016

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The resurgent Serb is halfway through completing his second non-calendar-year grand slam sweep and few would back against him taking the third step at his happiest major hunting ground.

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RAFAEL NADAL (ESP)

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Age: 32

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Ranking: 2

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Plays: left-handed (two-handed backhand)

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Career prize money: $US103,251,975 ($A146.54 million)

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Career titles: 80

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Grand slam titles: 17 (Australian Open 2009; French Open 2005-08, 2010-14, 2017-18; Wimbledon 2008, 2010; US Open 2010, 2013, 2017)

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Australian Open win-loss record: 55-12

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Best Australian Open result: champion 2009

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It’s now a decade since the great Spaniard celebrated his lone title triumph in Melbourne and time is slipping away for the 32-year-old to join Rod Laver and Roy Emerson as the only men to have won all four grand slam singles crowns at least twice.

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ROGER FEDERER (SUI)

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Age: 37

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Ranking: 3

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Plays: right-handed

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Career prize money: $US120,514,916 ($A171.04 million)

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Career titles: 99

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Grand slam titles: 20 (Australian Open 2004, 2006-07, 2010, 2017-18; French Open 2009; Wimbledon 2003-07, 2009, 2012, 2017; US Open 2004-2008)

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Australian Open win-loss record: 94-13

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Best Australian Open results: champion 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2017, 2018

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Like Djokovic, the mighty Swiss is chasing an unprecedented seventh men’s singles crown at Melbourne Park while an Open hat-trick would also take Federer’s career title tally to a magical No.100.

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ALEXANDER ZVEREV (GER)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Age: 21

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Ranking: 4

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Career prize money: $US15,747,928 ($A22.35 million)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Career titles: 10

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Grand slam titles: 0

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Australian Open win-loss record: 4-3

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Best Australian Open results: third round 2017, 2018

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

The 2018 season-ending championship winner is under an injury cloud and continues to disappoint at the slams but it seems only a matter of time before the young German breaks through on one of the sport’s biggest stages.

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

KEVIN ANDERSON (RSA)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Age: 32

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Ranking: 6

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Career prize money: $US15,823,923 ($A22.33 million)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Career titles: 6

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Grand slam titles: 0

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Australian Open win-loss record: 11-10

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Best Australian Open results: fourth round 2013, 2014, 2015

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

With runs to the final in New York and Wimbledon in the past 18 months, the South African has emerged as a bona fide grand slam contender but has yet to really make his mark in Melbourne.

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

MARIN CILIC (CRO)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Age: 30

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Ranking: 7

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Career prize money: $US26,106,425 ($A37.05 million)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Career titles: 18

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Grand slam titles: 1 (US Open 2014)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Australian Open win-loss record: 26-10

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Best Australian Open result: finalist 2018

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Runner-up to Federer last year, the big-hitting former US Open champion is proving a perennial grand slam force and could sneak off with the title if the big dogs falter.

“},{“contentType”:”VIDEO”,”marbleApiEnv”:”prod”,”playerType”:”player”,”videoId”:713775},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

BEST OUTSIDER

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

KEI NISHIKORI (JPN)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Age: 29

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Ranking: 9

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Career prize money: $US21,765,766 ($A16.57 million)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Career titles: 12

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Grand slam titles: 0

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Australian Open win-loss record: 23-8

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Best Australian Open results: quarter-finalist 2012, 2015, 2016

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

After a wretched run with injury, the Japanese trailblazer has regained his place in the world’s top 10 with a big 2018 including a US Open semi-final showing before opening this season with title success in Brisbane.

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

BEST AUSTRALIAN HOPES

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

ALEX DE MINAUR

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Age: 19

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Ranking: 29

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Career prize money: $US1,503,341 ($A2.10 million)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Career titles: 0

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Grand slam titles: 0

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Australian Open win-loss record: 1-2

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Best Australian Open result: second round 2017

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Seeded for the first time at a slam, the ATP’s 2018 Newcomer of the Year has started the new season on fire after reaching two finals and surging from outside the top 200 last year.

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

NICK KYRGIOS

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Age: 23

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Ranking: 51

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Career prize money: $US6,627,174 ($A9.36 million)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Career titles: 4

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Grand slam titles: 0

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Australian Open win-loss record: 11-5

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Best Australian Open results: quarter-finalist 2015

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

The underdone and underachieving super-talent hasn’t made the last eight at a slam in four years and has a brutal draw after being unseeded at a major for the first time since the 2015 US Open.

“},{“contentType”:”VIDEO”,”marbleApiEnv”:”prod”,”playerType”:”player”,”videoId”:713751},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

WOMEN

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

SIMONA HALEP (ROM)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Age: 27

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Ranking: 1

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Career prize money: $US28,145,579 ($A40.22 million)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Career titles: 18

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Grand slam titles: 1 (French Open 2018)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Australian Open win-loss record: 16-8

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Best Australian Open result: finalist 2018

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

The world No.1 endured an injury-marred end to 2018 and has also lost her Aussie super-coach Darren Cahill but can’t be dismissed as a title threat if she navigates her way through the first week.

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

ANGELIQUE KERBER (GER)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Age: 30

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Ranking: 2

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Plays: left-handed (two-handed backhand)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Career prize money: $US27,156,841 ($A38.80 million)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Career titles: 12

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Grand slam titles: 3 (Australian Open 2016; Wimbledon 2018; US Open 2016)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Australian Open win-loss record: 26-10

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Best Australian Open result: champion 2016

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

The revitalised former champion returns as a serious challenger onceagain after crowning her comeback from a disappointing 2017 season with a memorable Wimbledon final triumph over Serena Williams.

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI (DEN)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Age: 28

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Ranking: 3

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Career prize money: $US33,495,723 ($A47.86 million)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Career titles: 30

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Grand slam titles: 1 (Australian Open 2018)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Australian Open win-loss record: 32-10

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Best Australian Open result: champion 2018

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

The Great Dane arrives in the best headspace of her tumultuous career, having finally shed her tag as the best player without a major last year in Melbourne.

“},{“contentType”:”VIDEO”,”marbleApiEnv”:”prod”,”playerType”:”player”,”videoId”:713748},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

NAOMI OSAKA (JPN)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Age: 21

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Ranking: 4

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Career prize money: $US7,682,862 ($A10.90 million)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Career titles: 2

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Grand slam titles: 1 (US Open 2018)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Australian Open win-loss record: 6-3

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Best Australian Open result: fourth round 2018

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

The Japanese superstar is bidding to become the first woman to claim back-to-back majors in more than three years after stunning Serena Williams in their controversial New York final last September.

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

ELINA SVITOLINA (UKR)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Age: 24

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Ranking: 6

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Career prize money: $US13,123,280 ($A18.73 million)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Career titles: 13

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Grand slam titles: 0

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Australian Open win-loss record: 11-6

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Best Australian Open result: quarter-finalist 2018

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

The former world junior champion has entrenched her place among the elite with 10 titles in the past two years but has yet to excel on the grand slam stage, making only three quarter-finals.

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

SERENA WILLIAMS (USA)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Age: 37

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Ranking: 16

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Career prize money: $US88,233,301 ($A126.07 million)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Career titles: 72

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Grand slam titles: 23 (Australian Open 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2017; French Open 2002, 2013, 2015; Wimbledon 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016; US Open 1999, 2002, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Australian Open win-loss record: 81-10

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Best Australian Open results: champion 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2017

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

The American superstar remains desperate to match Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 grand slam singles crowns after falling in the final at the past two majors.

“},{“contentType”:”VIDEO”,”marbleApiEnv”:”prod”,”playerType”:”player”,”videoId”:713740},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

BEST OUTSIDER

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

ARYNA SABALENKA (BLR)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Age: 20

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Ranking: 11

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Career prize money: $US2,312,199 ($A3.29 million)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Career titles: 3

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Grand slam titles: 0

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Australian Open win-loss record: 0-1

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Best Australian Open result: first round 2018

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

The young Belarusian Fed Cup star boasts eight top-10 scalps in the past six months, including Wozniacki’s, and soared from outside the top 70 at the end of 2017.

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

BEST AUSTRALIAN HOPES

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

ASHLEIGH BARTY

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Age: 22

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Ranking: 15

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Career prize money: $US5,208,080 ($A7.44 million)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Career titles: 3

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Grand slam titles: 0

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Australian Open win-loss record: 4-5

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Best Australian Open results: third round 2017, 2018

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Enjoyed another breakout season in 2018, consolidating her place in the top 20 with titles in Nottingham and Zhuhai and a first-time charge to a grand slam second week in New York before opening the new year in blazing form.

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

DARIA GAVRILOVA

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Age: 24

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Ranking: 34

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Career prize money: $US3,569,491 ($A5.09 million)

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Career titles: 1

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Grand slam titles: 0

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Australian Open win-loss record: 8-5

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Best Australian Open results: fourth round 2016, 2017

“},{“contentType”:”HTML”,”html”:”

Tough to predict what’s in store for the temperamental talent but two runs to the last 16 in her home-city slam prove she’s capable of challenging the best on her day.

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