The bottom half of the draw is loaded with the following seeds: #2 Rafael Nadal, #3 Roger Federer, #5 Kevin Anderson, #6 Marin Cilic, #9 John Isner, #10 Karen Khachanov, #13 Kyle Edmund, #14 Stefanos Tsitsipas, #18 Diego Schwartzman, #19 Nikoloz Basilashvili, #20 Grigor Dimitrov, #22 Roberto Bautista Agut, #26 Fernando Verdasco, #27 Alex de Minaur, #30 Gael Monfils, and #31 Steve Johnson.
Notable unseeded players that we should keep an eye on are: Tomas Berdych, Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe, and Feliciano Lopez.
Sadly for the number two seed, who is not at his best physically, his half of the draw is loaded with a bunch of heavy hitters that can knock him out of the draw. Despite his recent claim that he is ready, I am not convinced that is the case. Hard court has traditionally been the surface that caused him problems and with his recent slew of niggling injuries, it will be a tough draw for the Spaniard to navigate. His best chance at going deep is to avoid long drawn out battles.
No surprise that the top half of the draw is led by the #1 ranked player Novak Djokovic. It is probably no surprise if the odds favor him as the eventual champion; however, some other players may have something to say about that. Other seeds in his half are: #4 Alexander Zverev, #7 Dominic Thiem, #8 Kei Nishikori (he is riding a wave of confidence with a recent title in Brisbane), #11 Borna Coric, #12 Fabio Fognini (not sure how fit he is, his right elbow was heavily bandaged up in his recent match in Auckland), #15 Daniil Medvedev, #16 Milos Raonic, #17 Marco Cecchinato, #21 David Goffin, #23 Pablo Carreno Busta, #24 Hyeon Chung, #25 Denis Shapovalov, #28 Lucas Pouille, #29 Gilles Simon, and #32 Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Notable unseeded players in the top half are: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Martin Klizan (a streaky but dangerous player), Ivo Karlovic, Sam Querrey, Nick Kyrgios (can be dangerous if his head is in the right place), Stan Wawrinka, and Benoit Paire (another player that can be dangerous if his head is in the right place).
There will always be a lot of speculation about who will win the title; however, history has shown that favored players can be upset and some unlikely players can be victorious. I am hoping that my favored players can make it to the second week of the tournament and perhaps even walk away with the title. However, the odds are stacked heavily against them; thus, I will be quite happy with a good effort from them.
SOURCE OF IMAGES: serveandrally originals (main photo: Gael Monfils; in white: Rafael Nadal; and black top: Alexander Zverev)