Nadal to go sleeveless for Australian Open

Nadal to go sleeveless for Australian Open

Nadal to go sleeveless for Australian Open

Federer, who turned back the clock to win two Grand Slams in 2017 after a five-year drought, on Thursday night described the season as "unbelievable".

His hopes for a triumphant return at Melbourne Park were dealt a blow at the Australian Open draw on Thursday night with the Serbian set to face former top-10 player Gael Monfils in the second round before running into fourth seed Aleander Zverev and 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka.

"With age, I feel like I play down my chances just because I don't think a 36-year-old should be a favourite of a tournament, it should not be the case", world No. 2 Federer said yesterday. "I'll make the most of it".

'I feel like maybe somebody like a Rafa, with the year that he's had, and Novak, with the six titles he's had here, even if it's unknown how he's feeling, they could very well be the favourites too'. He last played a competitive match in the first round of Wimbledon and is returning from two operations on a knee cartilage injury.

"I feel my biggest expectation is from myself", Venus Williams said, dismissing any notion that age or expectations will weigh heavily on her. It's the start of a new season, an exciting one.

The Spaniard did have a tune-up, with organisers obliging his request to play a game under match conditions.

Kyrgios comes into the tournament in great form after winning the Brisbane International, and the effortless way he defeated Grigor Dimitrov in the semi-final was a reminder of just how good he can be when he is fully focused.

Djokovic said his elbow injury got to the point where the pain on his serve was becoming unbearable, with a sustained period of rest the only cure.

"It hasn't been 100 percent yet healed", Djokovic told reporters at Melbourne Park on Saturday. Has a very high level. "I mean, for me it was a coincidence, you know".

AP Images
AP Images

But his confidence is high and he warned he could still go far. That's what happened for me previous year. "Brisbane was a great week, but I had to prepare for the Australian Open, and I prepared".

Venus Williams says Serena is "here in spirit" supporting her in Australia, where she's hopeful of ending an nearly decadelong Grand Slam title drought. "I think it's going to be helpful again for me this year because the court plays exactly the same in Perth and here in Melbourne", he said. "I've showed on multiple occasions over the year that I can play and beat the best guys in the world".

"I think he's going to like these conditions".

There has never been a doubt that Kyrgios is capable of winning a grand slam but both mental and physical resilience has been a major issue.

Entering as the No. 1 seed for the first time at a major and at a tournament where she's had back-to-back first-round exits, two-time French Open finalist Halep opens against teenage wild-card entry Destanee Aiava.

Serena Williams beat her older sister Venus Williams in the final to capture an Open era-record 23rd major here a year ago but decided against defending her title because she didn't have enough time to recover from health issues after a complicated childbirth in September.

Garbine Muguruza is the reigning Wimbledon champion, though her health has been in question at the start of the new year.

Nadal's preparation for the first major of the year has been questionable, but if he can come through the rounds in Melbourne, we may just be treated to another Federer-Nadal classic in the final.

Top seed and often injured Rafael Nadal skipped warmup tournaments before the Australian Open.

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