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Australian Open Betting: Melbourne glory for Murray?

Will Murray grab another major title in Melbourne?

"Djokovic hasn’t been beaten here since 2010 and it’s hard to see past another Serbian win this time around.."

Can US Open champion Andy Murray add the Australian Open title to his CV when the first major of the 2013 season takes place in January? Sean Calvert assesses his chances..

Andy Murray will attempt to create history once more when he steps on court in Melbourne next month at the 2013 Australian Open.

The Scot will become the first Briton since Fred Perry in 1936 to record back-to-back Grand Slam victories if he succeeds at Melbourne Park and he's currently a 4.84/1 shot to do so.

Historically, Andy tends to do well at the opening Slam of the year, where he's reached the final in two of the last three years and was only defeated 12 months ago by an inspired Novak Djokovic in a 290 minute, five set epic that will live long in the memory.

With the US Open title already under his belt, the question now surrounds Murray's desire to continue tasting victory in major finals. Will he become a one Slam wonder or will the Dunblane-born world number three go on to grab more majors?

For me, the doubts are still there in as much as that US Open win - as superb as it was - did owe a little to good fortune with the elements conspiring to produce ridiculously windy conditions in both his semi-final against Tomas Berdych and in the final against Djokovic.

Of course, Murray was the one who coped best with the conditions and he was a deserved winner in New York, but with Rafa Nadal on the comeback trail and conditions likely to be more conducive to tennis than sailing in Melbourne it will arguably be a bigger achievement to lift this trophy.

Nadal returns to action following a long term knee problem in the exhibition event in Abu Dhabi just after Christmas and although it's asking an awful lot for the Spaniard to land a second Australian Open title after half a season out injured, he'll still be a big hurdle for Murray to overcome.

And it must be noted that Murray is still yet to beat Roger Federer in Grand Slam play, although his destruction of the Swiss at the Olympics will certainly help in that regard.

Technically, Murray has the game to win this title, with superb defensive skills combining now with a forehand that he's less reluctant to hit since teaming up with Ivan Lendl.

He does still have a frustrating tendency to go into his shell and become far too passive at times though and on occasion it seems as though he has to go behind in matches before he produces the brand of tennis that he's capable of.

The big concern in my view is not with his technical ability, but with his mental attitude. I said 12 months ago in these pages that Murray needed help on that side of his game before he can win a Slam and that's exactly what happened.

Murray revealed that he began working in January with the same sports psychologist that helped Lendl in his career and to my mind that made all the difference.

But does he possess that same single minded determination to win at all costs like a Nadal? His performances since New York have been less than impressive, although that could be down to end of season fatigue and a perfectly understandable let down after the high of Flushing Meadows.

As ever, much will depend on the draw and also how quickly Nadal can find his form, but Djokovic goes into this as a worthy favourite at around 2.568/5 and the market looks to have this one about right.

The courts are on the slow side in Melbourne, as they are pretty much everywhere these days, and that suits the game styles of Murray and Djokovic best, as their records show.

Djokovic hasn't been beaten here since 2010 and it's hard to see past another Serbian win this time around.

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24 December 2012

Australian Open

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