It's an exciting time to be a tennis fan and particularly in the men's side of the game. And as the New Year beckons and the eyes of the tennis world turn to Melbourne for the first tennis Grand Slam event of the year it promises to be a fascinating contest.

The big picture is one of a returned to form after injury Rafael Nadal, who won in Paris and Flushing Meadows this year, versus world number one Novak Djokovic who has tended to dominate in Australia in recent years, winning four of the last six Aussie Opens. A little further down the field is British Wimbledon winner and 2012 U.S. Open winner Andy Murray, runner-up in Melbourne for three of the last four finals there. He's the slight outsider of the three.

Then further down the betting field again is the man who lays a solid claim to be the greatest player the tennis world has ever seen in the shape of 32 year-old veteran Roger Federer. And before you write Federer's career off; consider that he split with his long-time coach in October which is not the sort of thing you'd be likely to do if you were about to hang up your racket. Also remember that this is a player who has won more Grand Slam singles titles, 17, than anyone else in the history of the game as well as breaking just about every other record in the tennis book.

Or perhaps the fourth favorite Juan Martin del Potro can have a big tournament down-under?

All in all, it promises to be a fantastic tournament. As usual, it's probably wisest to look to the markets for the likely winner. On Betfair, the world's biggest betting exchange, the odds have Djokovic firm favorite at around 6/4, followed by Nadal a 2/1 shot, Murray at 5/1, then a gap to del Potro at 14/1 and the fading Federer relatively unfancied at 20/1. Betting on tennis betting at betfair.com is different, of course, in that you can still profit by picking out a player early on who fares better than expected then laying all or part of the bets back at lower odds.

On this basis, an outside punt on Roger Federer returning to former glories may well prove to be an interesting proposition.