No stopping Serena - Wade
British tennis great Virginia Wade simply can't see past Serena Williams winning the Australian Open title for a sixth time this year.
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Williams, winner of the crown in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010, goes in as the odds-on favourite with most bookmakers.
And Wade, who won the title herself in Melbourne back in 1972, agrees with that verdict.
"I can't see her losing," she told sportinglife.com.
"How tough is it for Victoria Azarenka to beat her? She can play really well against her but to win the last point is very tough.
"Azarenka played well enough to win at the US Open. Serena was as nervous as a kitten, yet she came through."
Wade, who will be acting as a pundit on British Eurosport's coverage of this year's tournament, feels Williams has improved mentally over the past couple of years - seasons which have seen her win 136 of her 144 matches.
"Serena has just got a tremendous amount of depth in her game at the moment," Wade added. "She's got over the walkabouts she had when she wasn't really as motivated."
Wade, also a former Wimbledon and US Open champion, sees it as a two-horse race for the title with Maria Sharapova, third favourite with the bookies, coming into the event having only played one tournament since August due to injury.
"It's hard to know what shape she'll be in," added Wade, who when pressed for other possible contenders mentioned rising Romanian star Simona Halep, who won six WTA titles last season.
"The young kid, Halep, is doing so well. But it will be tough for her to keep it going.
"Petra Kvitova has started to play a little bit better. If only she could control her game a little bit. Sadly Angelique Kerber is not continuing to make the same strides.
"There are a number of good players out there - Sloane Stephens is another - but I'm definitely making them (Williams and Azarenka) my two favourites."
- British Eurosport HD will broadcast over 300 hours of LIVE coverage from the Australian Open between January 13 and 26. Live multi-court coverage is also available online and on mobile via Eurosport Player - www.eurosportplayer.com.