The luck of the draw is a phrase associated with numerous sporting events, whether it be a lesser side wanting the huge payday of a high-ranking opponent or a bigger fish hoping for an easier tie to ensure a simpler route to the latter stages.
It is the second of these situations that rings most true for players at the Australian Open, where easier draws are wanted to keep court time to a minimum and enhance the likelihood of more rest being achieved ahead of the final few rounds.
Obviously, not everyone has been so fortunate after the men’s and women’s draws in Melbourne and here we identify who’s got it good, who’s got it bad and who’s got it ugly.
The good – Novak Djokovic (7/5 to win Australian Open)
Djokovic will be delighted to have avoided, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Roger Federer in his half of the draw and some easier earlier matches will allow the Serb to find some rhythm after an indifferent start to 2015.
Verdasco and Raonic may look like potential banana skins, but Djokovic has won four hard-court meetings on the trot with the Spaniard and all four meetings anywhere with the monster-serving Raonic.
The bad – Roger Federer (8/1 to win Australian Open)
Federer should find his first three matches to be a relative breeze, but Karlovic will be high on confidence here after beating Djokovic already in 2015.
A straight run of his three biggest rivals from the quarter finals onwards is hardly an enthralling prospect either.
The ugly – Sloane Stephens (50/1 to win Australian Open)
Stephens faced Azarenka in the fourth round here last year, but because the two-time champion struggled with injury for much of 2014, she has been unseeded here.
This isn’t good news for Stephens and the remainder of the draw doesn’t get much better. If she overcomes the Belorussian, she will have to beat six seeded opponents to win a first Grand Slam.