AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2015: Capsules on top men's players

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Men to watch at the Australian Open, which begins Monday at Melbourne Park:


Seeded: 1

Ranked: 1

Age: 27

Country: Serbia

2014 Match Record: 61-8

2014 Singles Titles: 7

Career Singles Titles: 48

Major Titles: 7 - Australian Open ('08, '11, '12, '13) Wimbledon ('11, '14), U.S. Open ('11),

Last 5 Australian Opens: `14-QF, '13-Won, '12-Won '11-Won, '10-QF

Topspin: Has a game suited to the hard courts at Melbourne Park, where he has won the bulk of his major titles. ... His 25-match win streak at the Australian Open ended in the quarterfinals last year, when he lost 9-7 in the fifth set to eventual champion Stan Wawrinka. ... Finished No. 1 for the third time in four years, winning a tour-high seven titles. ... Extended his run of winning a major every year to four years with his title at Wimbledon and returned to No. 1 ranking. ... Finished 2014 with his third consecutive title at the season-ending championship. ... Started 2015 with a quarterfinal run at Doha. ... Had a big year off the courts, too, marrying his longtime girlfriend, Jelena. Their son, Stefan, was born in October.



Seeded: 2

Ranked: 2

Age: 33

Country: Switzerland

2014 Match Record: 72-12

2014 Singles Titles: 5

Career Singles Titles: 83

Major Titles: 17 - Australian Open ('04, '06, '07, '10), French Open ('09), Wimbledon ('03, '04, '05, '06, '07, '09, '12), U.S. Open ('04, '05, '06, '07, '08)

Last 5 Australian Opens: `14-SF, '13-SF, '12-SF, '11-SF, '10-Won.

Topspin: Recorded his 1,000th match win on the professional tour, becoming only third man to reach the milestone, with victory over Milos Raonic in the final of the Brisbane International in his first tournament of the season. ... Had a strong finish to last season, finishing in the year-end top two for the 10th time, and oldest player since rankings system was introduced to finish in top two. ... Led the tour in match wins and matches played in 2014, showing few signs of injuries that had hampered him in the previous couple of years. ... Led Switzerland to its first ever Davis Cup title. ... Has reached the semifinals or better at 11 consecutive Australian Open tournaments, but hasn't returned to the final since winning the last of his four Australian titles in 2010. ... Hasn't won a major since 2012 Wimbledon, and lost the final at Wimbledon last year, the only time he's contested a major final since his last Grand Slam title. ... Will be playing his 61st consecutive major.



Seeded: 3

Ranked: 3

Age: 28

Country: Spain

2014 Match Record: 48-11

2014 Singles Titles: 4

Career Singles Titles: 64

Major Titles: 14 - Australian Open (2009), French Open ('05, `06, `07, `08, `10, `11, `12, `13, `14), Wimbledon ('08, `10), U.S. Open ('10, `13).

Last 5 Australian Opens: `14-F, `13-Did Not Play, `12-F, 11-QF, `10-QF.

Topspin: Finished year in top three for the ninth time in 10 years despite limited playing time after losing the No. 1 ranking in July after 39 weeks at the top. ... Spent three months out after Wimbledon with a right wrist injury. After returning briefly in China, he withdrew from the season-ending championship because of appendicitis and underwent surgery Nov. 3. ... Hasn't won the Australian Open since 2009, his longest drought at any of the majors, but has reached two of the last three finals. He went down to Djokovic in the 2012 final, losing 7-5 in the fifth set in a 5-hour, 53-minute match, and lost to Stan Wawrinka in the deciding match last season. ... Has won at least one major in 10 consecutive seasons, a record, and is tied at No. 2 with Pete Sampras on the all-time list with 14 majors. ... Nadal has proven he can win majors on hard courts, and the biggest question over him in 2015 will be how he handles his third comeback from a long-term injury.



Seeded: 4

Ranked: 4

Age: 29

Country: Switzerland

2014 Match Record: 39-17

2014 Singles Titles: 3

Career Singles Titles: 7

Major Titles: 1 - Australian Open ('14)

Last 5 Australian Opens: `14-W, `13-4th, `12-3rd, `11-QF, `10-3rd.

Topspin: Melbourne Park last year was the scene of only Grand Slam title, beating the then three-time defending champion Djokovic and then No. 1-ranked Nadal on the way to claiming his first major title. ... He warmed up for the last Australian Open with a title in Chennai, and was coming off a confidence-boosting run to the semifinals of the 2013 U.S. Open, beating reigning champion Andy Murray along the way. ... His victory cracked the streak of the so-called Big 4 - who had combined to win the previous 16 major titles - and started a year in which there were four different Grand Slam winners - including two first-timers. ... He lost in the first round at the French, but reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and capped the year by helping Switzerland win its first Davis Cup title.



Seeded: 5

Ranked: 5

Age: 25

Country: Japan

2014 Match Record: 54-14

2014 Singles Titles: 4

Career Singles Titles: 7

Major Titles: 0 - Best-F, U.S. Open ('14).

Last 5 Australian Opens: `14-4th, `13-4th, `12-QF, `11-3rd, `10-DNP

Topspin: Set a series of tennis milestones for men from Asia in 2014. .... Reached his first Grand Slam final, beating Wawrinka and Djokovic before losing to Marin Cilic at the U.S. Open. ... Reached a career-high No. 5 ranking, making him the highest-ranked man from Asia in tour history. ... Was the first man from Asia to qualify for the season-ending championship, where he went 2-1 in round-robin play before losing to Djokovic in the semis. ... Was 11-7 vs. top 10 opponents in 2014. ... Helped Japan reach the Davis Cup quarterfinals. ... Widely considered one of the next generation of major winners, although says the Australian Open might be slightly too soon. ... His run to the 2011 Australian Open quarterfinals was his best run at a major until last year's U.S. Open. ... His even temperament on court and consistency are valuable attributes in two-week tournament.



Seeded: 6

Ranked: 6

Age: 27

Country: Britain

2014 Match Record: 59-20

2014 Singles Titles: 3

Career Singles Titles: 31

Major Titles: 2 - U.S. Open ('12), Wimbledon ('13)

Last 5 Australian Opens: `14-QF, `13-F, `12-SF `11-F, `10-F

Topspin: A regular contender at Melbourne Park, where he has reached three Australian Open finals without winning the big prize. ... His quarterfinal exit last year was his worst run at the season's first major since `09. ... Lived under the burden of intense expectations in Britain until he won his first major title at the 2012 U.S. Open. ... He quickly followed that up by ending the long drought for British men at Wimbledon with his triumph there in 2013. ... Went through a long stretch of not reaching finals after his win at Wimbledon and dropped out of the top 10 for the first time since 2008, but went on a roll starting in mid-September, winning 20 of his 23 matches in a six-week period to capture three titles. ... Coached by Amelie Mauresmo since last June.



Seeded: 8

Ranked: 8

Age: 24

Country: Canada

2014 Match Record: 49-20

2014 Singles Titles: 1

Career Singles Titles: 6

Major Titles: 0 - Best: SF, Wimbledon ('14)

Last 5 Australian Opens: `14-3rd, `13-4th, `12-3rd, `11-4th, `10-Did Not Play.

Topspin: One of the most promising up-and-coming players on the tour. ... Had a big 2014, becoming the first Canadian man to finish in the top 10, the first to surpass $2 million in prize money in a season and the first to reach a Grand Slam semifinal. ... Lost to Federer in the Wimbledon semifinals, after losing to Djokovic in the quarterfinals of the French Open. ... He is tall and agile and has a big, reliable serve - finished No. 2 on the tour in aces (1,107) and first-service points (85 percent) last season. ... Says the biggest area of improvement in the offseason was on his serve. ... Lost in the final of the season-opening Brisbane International to Federer, when the Swiss great notched his 1,000th career match win.



Seeded: 10

Ranked: 11

Age: 23

Country: Bulgaria

2014 Match Record: 50-18

2014 Singles Titles: 3

Career Singles Titles: 4

Major Titles: 0 - Best: SF, Wimbledon ('14)

Last 5 Australian Opens: `14-QF, `13-1st, `12-2nd, `11-2nd, `10-DNP.

Topspin: Has been nicknamed ''Baby Fed'' for the similarity of his game to Federer's, but made a name for himself last year by winning titles on three surfaces and reaching first major semifinal at Wimbledon, where he beat 2013 champion Murray in the quarterfinals before losing to eventual champion Djokovic. ... Reached the quarterfinals at the last Australian Open, losing to Nadal to kick off his first 50-win season. ... Uses a stylish, single-handed backhand to good effect.


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