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Lleyton Hewitt makes his Australian Open predictions

3AW Mornings

Aussie tennis great Lleyton Hewitt says Novak Djokovic is red-hot favourite to win this year’s Australian Open.

But on the women’s side the race for the title is currently “wide open” with local hope Ash Barty an “outside chance” of causing an upset and claiming her first major.

“Novak’s been so dominant on a similar surface winning the US Open,” he told 3AW Mornings.

“In terms of the women’s Plisokova is playing really well and Angie Kerber had a really good week at the Hopman Cup as well.

“It’s all about surviving the first week to put yourself in that second week and then hopefully the draw opens up.”

Rising star Alex De Minaur comes into the tournament in good form after claiming his first-ever title at the Sydney International.

But Hewitt said it was a “difficult situation” as the 19-year-old balanced his commitments ahead of the first major of the season.

“With the weather in Sydney (on Saturday), he had to play a semi-final and final (on Sunday),” he said.

“It hasn’t been ideal but he has to block that out and focus on what he has to do today.”

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