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With Novak Djokovic taking an extended break from the game, there is a vacancy for someone to come through and make the World Number One berth their own for a very long time. We last saw the Serb in action back at Wimbledon when injury forced him to retire from his quarter final match against Tomas Berdych and it may be some time before Djokovic wields a racket in anger again.

Long Way Back

Speaking in July 2017, the 12-time Grand Slam winner declared that it would be two months before he even picked up a racket and from there he would recommence training. That schedule obviously rules Djokovic out of the US Open and it’s unlikely he will appear in the ATP World Tour Finals at the end of the year.

Realistically, the comeback target has to be the Australian Open at the start of 2018 and, as he slips to number five in the world, that prolonged absence allows others to cement their own rankings. The Serb is best priced at 4/1 with BetVictor for that event with Andy Murray favourite at 3/1 with Coral but it would take a brave man to stake on Djokovic considering his current injury concerns.

That said, there are a number of bookmakers currently offering free bets and other bonuses on tennis matches so fans of the big Serb can have a punt on the Australian Open risk-free. Totesport, for example, gives a 100% bonus of up to £25 to new customers.

Out in Front

Having won the French Open title earlier the year, Rafael Nadal now tops the men’s rankings with Andy Murray slipping down to second. Despite this shift in positions, there is a perception, however, that Murray’s career is on the rise while the Spaniard is waning after a long and glittering period at, or near, the top.

It’s a theory that is reflected in expectations for the US Open Men’s Singles where Murray is joint favourite alongside Roger Federer at 11/4 for the outright win while Nadal lags behind at 7/1. At 36, Federer really is reaching the twilight of his career despite recent results but there is little to split Murray and Nadal in terms of age.

Who can, therefore, take advantage of Djokovic’s absence and really cement that Number One ranking?

Physio’s Bench

Interestingly, it’s Federer who is favourite at 8/15 with Betway to finish 2017 as the World Number One. Nadal is at 11/8 with Murray back at 100/1 but it’s all about 2018 as far as the Scot is concerned.

Like his great rival Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray has seen plenty of the physio’s room in the last few months but with the Scot, it’s a series of niggles that seems to plague his game and, if you accept them as an excuse, stops him from achieving more Grand Slam titles.

He last underwent major surgery for a lower back complaint in 2013 but news relating to that troublesome ankle keeps appearing while Murray is currently recovering from a hip injury that threatens his very participation in the US Open.

It was the same hip that received blame for Andy Murray’s own Wimbledon exit and there are clear parallels with Djokovic who exited the tournament at the same quarter final stage. Roger Federer has advised the Scot to take a complete break from the game in order to ensure rehabilitation and it will be interesting to see if Murray pays any attention.

With Novak Djokovic out until the New Year at the very least, many feel that this is Andy Murray’s time to fully establish himself as the World Number One but can he seize his chance or will injury issues mean that the Scot will never full realise his true potential?

Andy Murray

Andy Murray

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About Admin
Randy Walker is a communications and marketing specialist, writer, tennis historian and the managing partner of New Chapter Media – www.NewChapterMedia.com. He was a 12-year veteran of the U.S. Tennis Association’s marketing and communications division where he worked as the press officer for 22 U.S. Davis Cup ties, three Olympic tennis teams and was an integral part of USTA media services team for 14 US Opens. He is the author of the books ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY and THE DAYS OF ROGER FEDERER

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