I'm having a bad feeling about the AO this year. I'm predicting Andy to go out early, before the QF at least. It won't be too much of a loss if he does though, he's had an amazing run in the last 8 really.
I'm not sure Laundry, if this is some kind of defence mechanism you have here, or some kind of reverse psychology. Either way, dating your doubts on the WTF is shaky to say the least I would have thought.
Looking at the WTF, Andy beat Berdych, who he has struggled with at times. If my memory serves me right he got close to Djokovic, Djokovic who just happens to be world no.1, and clumped Tsonga. Sure, he lost to Federer, in what, if I recall, was only Andy's second appearance in the semi's at the WTF, but I do wonder how much that crowd getting on his back played a part in that. Also, what I do think, looking back, is that Andy went into the WTF mentally and emotionally done to a great extent, after what he had acheived in 2012, all within two months, Wimbledon final, Olympic gold and USO win. In fact I think you could say that Andy, to a point, was done after the USO, but still he got to the semi's in Tokyo and had match points over Raonic, and got to the final in the Shanghai Masters and had match points over Djokovic. Sure, there was Paris as well, but at least Andy went a round further than Djokovic. Both clearly had an eye on the WTF.
The thing with slams is that you never know. Andy could go out early, he could win. The same applies to Djokovic and Federer. Who would have predicted Federer not making the semi's at the USO? Only Berdych I would have thought. That said, I think it would take a braver person than me to bet against one of the top three winning the AO, and in my mind Andy has as good a chance as Djokovic, and marginally more chance than Federer, if Federer gets pushed in the latter stages especially. I honestly don't see the winner coming from outside of the top three.
Looking at Andy's game now, when he is on he is a handful for anyone in the game. Look at the way he brushed Federer aside in the Olympics, and also in the semi's at Shanghai. Look at the way he can go toe-to-toe with Djokovic for hours and hours, which he has done more than once. The margins with Djokovic might be closer, but their games are so similar you would expect that.
Andy deals with adversity better than ever now too, often rising to the challenge, lifting his game exactly when he needs it, instead of wasting energy berating himself too much - although a bit of that is good for him I think. I think Andy needs the fire in him to get him going, but he doesn't need that to overtake him. He's so good now at refocusing on the job, and he does it. He did it in Brisbane beautifully, and God only knows what was going through his mind there.
Andy has a pretty good record at the AO, better than the USO in fact. I don't see any reason not to be very optimistic about his chances. Believe me, I've parted with cash, and I'd never put my hand in my purse if I thought Andy wasn't in the running and in with a great chance.