Melbourne, Jan.17 (ANI): Former tennis star and now Fox Sports tennis commentator Wally Masur believes that this year's Australian Open could throw up a surprise winner in the men's singles, as incumbent champion Roger Federer looks vulnerable.
"I guess that with every defeat, he (Federer) losses a little of that aura of invincibility that he had. Long term, I suppose, you have to think what Federer's motivation is on the practice court. I think when he gets on court, he will fire up. But if you are not doing all the little things over the course of a year in training, then that can catch up with you," Masur said.
Timing is everything in the first grand slam of the year, according to Masur, and those players who dedicate themselves most diligently to their preparation are generally rewarded.
However, he said, he was not reading too much into Federer's recent losses on court.
"I think Federer knows what he needs to do, and he made that decision quite a while a go. He lost in Doha a couple of weeks ago and I thought he might have wanted some more matches, but I think he's fairly comfortable with where he is at. It doesn't take Roger too long to find form and he probably sees the possibility, considering his seeding, that he can play his way into form, to a degree, in that first week. Don't forget, these are quality players beating him in the lead-up tournaments," Masur said.
"I'm predicting a little bit of a renaissance for Lleyton (Hewitt), whether it's in the Australian Open or later in the year at Wimbledon," said Masur.
Masur's pick for the women's title has a familiar ring to it, but the return of Belgian comeback queens Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters has certainly whetted his appetite.
He also said that if Nadal's body doesn't let him down, he's a very good chance of repeating.
There are a handful of chances in the men's draw, and he is certainly one of the best. (ANI)