Australian Open: The Sizzling Six Brits competing in Melbourne

Andy Murray celebrates
Andy Murray celebrates

Six players carry the British hopes of success in the singles at the Australia Open, as the first grand slam of 2019 gets into action.

Andy Murray makes his return to Melbourne after missing last year's tournament while Katie Boulter has secured direct entry to a slam for the first time.

Press Association Sport looks at the British hopefuls.

Andy Murray

Andy Murray - faces another tough test
Andy Murray missed last year's Australian Open due to injury

The former world number one hoped his tentative steps in 2018 would pave the way for a full return this season. Twelve months after hip surgery, it remains to be seen whether Murray will ever return to peak fitness, and his appearance in Brisbane last week was not particularly encouraging, with the 31-year-old's movement still a major concern.

Winning the Australian Open after reaching the final five times is top of the list of things Murray wants to achieve in the final years of his career but taking steps forward remains the current priority, and a kind draw would be a major bonus.

He is ranked at 33/1 with Sky Bet to win his first Australian Open, with nine players at shorter odds, highlighting the task ahead of him in 2019.

Kyle Edmund

Kyle Edmund: Though to round three
Kyle Edmund reached the semi finals last year

What a difference a year makes. Edmund arrived in Melbourne last January ranked just inside the top 50 and with few people talking about him as a potential challenger for the biggest titles and left as a grand slam semi-finalist.

Just as importantly, the 24-year-old followed up that run with a fine season overall, including winning his first ATP Tour title in Antwerp. He must deal with the pressure of defending a huge amount of ranking points, while a knee injury that saw him pull out of this week's tournament in Sydney is a concern.

With all that in mind, he sits at 66/1 to go all the way and win his first grand slam title.


Australian Open 2019 Men's Outright odds with Sky Bet

  • Novak Djokovic - 5/4
  • Rodger Federer - 5/1
  • Alexander Zverev - 8/1
  • Rafael Nadal - 8/1
  • Karen Khachanov - 28/1
  • Kei Nishikori - 28/1

Odds correct at time of postings - 0930 GMT 9/1/19


Cameron Norrie

Cameron Norrie will look to build on his success in the Hopman Cup
Cameron Norrie will look to build on his success in the Hopman Cup

Another man looking to build on a fine 2018. Norrie's rapid strides carried him into the top 100 little over a year after he turned professional and this tournament will see the 23-year-old gain direct entry into a fourth successive slam.

The fast-learning left-hander still has plenty of room for improvement in his game and will look to push towards the top 50 in 2019. He began the season with impressive wins over Stefanos Tsitsipas and Frances Tiafoe at the Hopman Cup.

Johanna Konta

Johanna Konta celebrates
Johanna Konta will hope for a more consistent 2019

After the difficulties of last year, 2019 presents new opportunities for Konta. Flashes of her form of 2016 and 2017 were evident last season but there was far too much inconsistency and a lack of belief in her game.

The 27-year-old begins the new term with a new coach, Stan Wawrinka's former mentor Dimitri Zavialoff, after splitting from Michael Joyce. Australian-born Konta has fond memories of Melbourne Park having reached the semi-finals three years ago and the last eight in 2017.

Konta is 40/1 to win the tournament - Britain's leading women's hope.

Heather Watson

Heather Watson
Heather Watson has competed in the last seven Australian Opens

Like Konta, Watson endured a difficult 2018, dropping out of the top 100 over the summer before climbing back in at the end of the season. That means, unlike at the US Open, she will not have to go through qualifying.

The 26-year-old has been searching for the right balance on and off the court and consistency remains a problem. This will be Watson's eighth straight appearance in Melbourne. Her best run was a third-round showing in 2013.

Konta's disappointing 2018 is reflected in her odds, at 150/1 to win the tournament.


Australian Open 2019 Women's Outright odds with Sky Bet

Serena Williams - 4/1

Angelique Kerber - 9/1

Naomi Osaka - 10/1

Simona Halep - 10/1

Aryna Sabalenka - 12/1

Elina Svitolina - 12/1

Odds correct at time of postings - 0930 GMT 9/1/19


Katie Boulter

Katie Boulter is competing in her first grand slam outside of Wimbledon
Katie Boulter is competing in her first grand slam outside of Wimbledon

While Konta and Watson disappointed, 2018 saw a host of young British women make leaps forward, none more significant than 22-year-old Boulter.

Tall with a big serve and forehand, Boulter, from Leicestershire, is hugely ambitious and made the breakthrough into the top 100 in October having started the season at 199. She won her first grand slam match at Wimbledon last summer and will make her slam debut outside of SW19.

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