Winning your 2nd consecutive Slam is essentially the toughest in tennis and as you can see, anyone has yet to do it. It's tougher than winning your 1st Slam. Patrick Rafter, for example who was also a late bloomer, won his first Major at age 25 (like our Andy) which is a bit late in tennis years and he too had to wait another year to win his 2nd, even when he was perfectly good enough to win either AO or Wimbledon in between. In fact, he was so hot in that year (1997), the bookies put him down as one of the favourites to win 1998 AO the following year (even more so than Agassi) but it didn't happen. I guess it's the overwhelming factor of winning your 1st Slam that often gets in the way. This, by no means, suggest that I don't think Andy won't be able to do it. It only means there's a big elephant in the room and we need to be aware of it. So IMO, right now, it depends on how much Andy has handled his success since then and if he has finally overcome those feelings given that it had taken him a very long time to win his first. And if these past three months were enough for him to settle things down. Another factor and almost all the time, the players need to taste a loss at a Slam level as well before the start craving for that winning feeling again. That's when I've noticed certain players in the past had gone on a winning spree after a short or long break of down time.
My gut feeling is that, Andy's in a very good place and should be the 2nd favourite to win AO but if it doesn't happen, I won't be too surprised because I know it's the hardest job to follow up after your 1st Major win.
I agree about it being one of the toughest feats in tennis given no-one has really done it before. but i'm looking at the situation as it is now Andy is unlikely to be overwhelmed by his first slam as he won OG had been in many GS finals and won many masters event, he's used to the bigtime unlike alot of 1st time winners.
Some of the top players are out- of form or injured, the young guns are starting to improve but i'd be shocked ( and gutted!!!)if tomic/dimitrov/goffin/raonic etc could beat Andy over 5 sets i expect in B03 he may lose the odd time to these kind of guys, but in a slam?
So really Fed and Novak are the only 2 challengers and seeing as this is not an indoor event I make him favorite ahead of Fed and on a level with Novak - lets face last few times they've played theres nothing to choose between them.
I will not be upset or suprised if Andy dosen't win. Andy Murray has NEVER been consistant or reliable in his level of performance, although his results have been pretty consistant he is liable to have off days more so than Djoke/Fed.
But I think he will win AO