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Djokovic is poised to return to action after recovering from his injury-plagued 2017 and he's expected to challenge for the title as well, but the Serb star says it is Federer and Nadal who should be feared most.
But, beneath the gleaming Djokovic exterior, cracks appeared, first emerging in Melbourne. He won 70 of his 76 matches and even went 41 matches without a defeat.
Fast forward 12 months and it is hard to envisage the two tennis greats going head-to-head again in a showdown for the ages at Melbourne Park on January 28 - and it is all because of the 31-year-old Spaniard and world number one. He'll start with Victor Estrella Burgos and then will get the winner of Leonardo Mayer and Nicolas Jarry. Anything can happen. It's a Grand Slam.
"Last year's season was a bit long and I had to start a little bit later than I would've liked". If the Slam organizers are reluctant to do a way with the five-setter altogether, perhaps a compromise along the lines of Petkovic's suggestion is overdue. On flair alone, Kyrgios deserves a place in the Top 5.
Fellow young Aussie talent Destanee Aiava has been shunted into a daunting first-round Australian Open clash with world No. 1 Simona Halep. No player has won multiple Australian Open titles over a longer period in the Open era. In the same period, he beat Federer 11 times out of 17 (including one walkover) and Murray 14 times out of 17. Has a very high level. "I don't want to know who I play other than just seeing the sheet at the end and knowing who my first-round opponent is". He triggered improvements in others too.
Roger Federer has revealed that last year's Australian Open win over Rafael Nadal in the final saw some of the best tennis he has ever played in his life.
It was the latest stumble for the former world No 1 but his 2017 took a more serious downward turn in the summer when, after pulling out during his Wimbledon quarter-final against Tomas Berdych, he announced he would be taking the rest of the season off to rehabilitate an ongoing elbow problem.
Although Djokovic said he was delighted with his performance, especially his serve, he acknowledged that he was still not in perfect shape.
Djokovic, a surprise second-round loser here last year, is hoping he can get fit enough to change that in 2018. But so did Federer. At the Museum of Fine Arts Ghent, one can even witness the live restoration of this most stolen artwork of all time. While only thirty-one, no physician believed Nadal's body could survive such an aggressive game style for fifteen years. "That Margaret has definitely homophobic views does not take away those accomplishments, no doubt about that".
Overall, the bottom half - with Federer, Djokovic, Wawrinka, Delpo and Zverev - is much stronger than the top.
The final category is the young players to watch.
A short while ago it seemed an overwhelming inevitability that Federer and Nadal would lock horns once more in the final but with Djokovic now lurking in the background that theory is far from certain. "It's important to find a good rhythm".
"Of course well deserved for him". He delayed his return until two exhibition appearances this week.
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