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First of all, I know that I'm about 27% (a little hyperbole) on my predictions on this forum. You live you learn, and I've learned more to look for value instead of just pounding heavy favorites. Here are some of my thoughts going into next week, but more so they are there so that the more insightful one's can give me things to look for when the weekend starts. In no particular order . . . .

1. Not sure about Nole: Djokovic had an excellent run in 2007, but tennis, unlike any other sport IMO, takes extreme mental and physical toughness. You're out there making all of your decisions, traveling through 5 continents trying to compete at the highest level. That obviously took a toll on Djokovic last year and thats why he faded heavily towards the end of the year. Does Djokovic have the desire to be the greatest, something that Federer and Nadal have shown? It's possible, but I still see great value in going against him. His draw in the first 4 rounds is extremely easy, as the toughest potential foes he'll face in those rounds are XMan, Tursunov, Hewitt, and Baggy. At $5+ odds against probably all of those players, I can certainly see a Novak slip along the way.

2. Hewitt in Question: Hewitt gets to play in his home country at this event, but lets face it, Rusty's looking at the end of the road. He may play for another 3-4 years, and he may continue to be a top 30 player, but his best days are far behind him. Combine that with the fact that he's going to be highly over valued in his home country, and I could see some value in fading Hewitt. His 3rd round matchup will feature him against one of 4 guys (Baggy,Gulbis,Johanson, and Safin), all who could easily take the heat to the Australian.

3. Continue to roll with Weight Watcher Dave: Can you still call him fat? In one of the best runs I've seen the past 2-3 years, Nalbandian ripped through consecutive masters series events dismantling the top 3 players of the world in back to back weeks. Imagine if he had been playing in Shanghai? I'm not sure if he'll continue to roll the way he did, and I'm also not sure how he spent the past 2 months not having played a lot of tennis, but I am sure that if he plays the way he did in October and November that he'll be looking at challenging Roger's supremacy down under. I think backing Nalbandian is a good idea in the early rounds, considering the toughest possible opponents up to the 4th round include Kiefer, Ferrero, Stepanek, and close friend Juan Martin Del Potro. I look for Nalbandian to destroy all of these guys in hurricane-like fashion before a 4th round showdown with David Ferrer, which would probably pair two of the three best players in the world at the moment.

4. Stay out of Roger's way until later in the tournament: Obviously, theres no value in backing him when he's 1.05 or less to win every match the first 4 rounds. There's been no slowing down in him at all, so there's no sense in fading him or backing him.

5. Fade James Blake: Not really sure what happen to Blake after his loss at the U.S. open, but he clearly has not played at a top level since, including a first round burnout in Sydney, where he had won back to back events. His draw is extremely weak, so he may be able to escape, but I look for him to be overvalued and I think he will struggle.

6. Mo Murray means Mo Money: Murray's last loss, a complete meltdown and a match where a home court advantage played a huge edge in Paris against Gasquet, almost wrongfully gave Richie the edge in Shanghai over him. It was possible that heartbreaking loss could've slowed the youngster down some, but he completely dominated Doha and on his way took out some pretty good players. I look for Murray to have the kind of year that Djokovic had last year, but only if he stays healthy. Looking to get on the bandwagon early before the odds are too heavy. Interesting first round match up with Tsonga . . . .

7. Roddick Ready to Roar: There's no question that Roddick had a great run again in 07. Unfortunately for him, Roger Federer is still alive. I'm not really sure if Roddick retooled his game after again getting destroyed and stop blocked by Federer all through 2007. We'll see how important coaching is in Tennis, as Roddick coach, Jimmy Connors, knows how to lose consecutively to a certain player, as Connors lost over FIFTEEN times in a row to Ivan Lendl. Roddick is a 6 seed in this event, and that's probably the best Christmas present he could've asked for. He has a cakewalk the first 3 rounds, and even in the fourth round the toughest potential foe is probably Jarko Nieminen. In addition to the easy early round draw, this is Rafael Nadal's bracket, and of the top 4 seeds, there no question that at this point Nadal is the least imposing.
 

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My thoughts going into it are pretty simple, nobody will stop Federer
 

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Apart from Roland Garros

I reckon the australian open is the one tournie were we might see a sensational knockout for the great one.

2 factors...

the heat evens things up a little and rogers mental blow with marat and that match a fews years ago.

Its not like Wimbledon were he is Invincible MENTALLY.
 
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