Andy Murray (7/4) and Novak Djokovic (6/4) are the standout players in men’s tennis as 2017 begins and their odds to win the Australian Open reflect it.

However, Stan Wawrinka proved at Flushing Meadows last autumn that he is still a huge threat in the big tournaments and is the best bet from the rest.

Priced at 12/1 to reprise his 2014 victory in Melbourne, the elegant Swiss player cannot be discounted.

With one of the finest backhands in the game, it is Wawrinka who poses the biggest threat to the top two seeds.

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have played out much of their careers entwined and their declines appear to be taking a similar path.

Both probably remain - despite the ATP rankings suggesting otherwise - among the top 10 players on earth but neither are likely to beat Murray or Djokovic in a straight fight any more.

ATP Tour Ranking

Nadal (12/1) is more likely to nab another slam but, as ever, much depends on the state of his knees and wrists. The familiar clay of the French Open in a few months’ time will be a better chance for the Spaniard to win one more.

Federer, who has now dropped all the way down to 17th in the world, has lost the aura of invincibility he once had but expect a few glimpses of that old majesty in what may be his last visit to Melbourne Park.

On the off-chance he produces something over the next few weeks, 5/2 to reach the last four might be a bet worth taking.

Kei Nishikori (30/1) and Marin Cilic (50/1) are two players who can usually be relied upon to make it to the second week of proceedings and at 5/1 each way, the latter in particular could take advantage of any shock defeats elsewhere in Australia.

Beyond those established contenders, a pack of young guns are all striving to be the first of their generation to pick up one of the big trophies.

The enigmatic Nick Kyrgios (37/1) is probably the most talented but his temperament still stands in the way while Milos Raonic’s run to the final of Wimbledon should give him the confidence to win a slam soon. He is priced at 17/1.

The young Austrian Dominic Thiem (80/1) started last year strongly only to fade but will certainly trouble the second fortnight of grand slams more and more. He is 7/1 to reach the last four.

Then there is Alexander Zverev (80/1). The tall German has the power and the mentality to emerge as a superstar and is also 7/1 to progress to the semi-finals.

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