Tennis Expert Picks - Australian Open


Editor's note: In selecting our picks, the "toughest road" must be by a player currently seeded in the top 10, and a "sleeper" is someone outside the top 10.

Here we are, in the midst of the vaunted, widely anticipated NFL playoffs, the glorious climax to a five-month crescendo.

Tennis, on the other hand, comes hurtling out of the box. Instant gratification, the first gift of 2013 to you, the tennis fan.

After only two weeks of goofing around with brief warm-ups in Qatar, India, New Zealand, China and, of course, Australia, it's time for the main (and major) event. The Australian Open -- sort of like NASCAR's Daytona 500 in February -- opens, technically, Monday.

In the United States, some 16 hours behind, it's actually Sunday night. You can see it all on ESPN2 and WatchESPN, and follow the action on with daily dispatches from reporters Bonnie Ford, Kamakshi Tandon and our usual cast of characters.

Who will win the titles? Which top-10 players will struggle? Which players outside the top 10 will overachieve?

We have the answers. Strictly for your enjoyment -- and perhaps a wager or two on the side -- our talented cast has spent the past 24 hours analyzing the draws. Here are our experts' (we use the word with reverence) picks: