Tennis Expert Picks - Australian Open


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

Cliff Drysdale was a U.S. Open singles finalist in 1965. Seven years later, he was named the inaugural president of the Association of Tennis Professionals. That same year, the South African, teamed with Roger Taylor, became a U.S. Open doubles champion.

Today, at the age of 70, he remains a popular tennis analyst for ESPN's family of networks.

Perhaps his greatest accomplishment, though, was winning's 2011 Experts' Picks. Rallying from behind with three correct choices at the U.S. Open last fall, he won the title over nine colleagues, finishing one ahead of analysts Darren Cahill, Brad Gilbert and Pam Shriver.

"So excited," Drysdale wrote back when he received the news. "Thanks for being the bearer of such earth-shattering news.

"Wonderful accomplishment. The distinguished field is adventurous and extremely talented but lacking experience, maybe?"

Drysdale's feat is even more impressive when you consider he did not make picks for last year's Australian Open, meaning he went 9-for-18 in the final three majors of the season -- a spectacular .500 batting average.

And now, we bring you the first 2012 edition of (so-called) Experts' Picks from the crew gathered in Melbourne at the Australian Open. And as always: Please, no wagering.