Federer feels too old to be favourite

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Andy Murray is missing after his hip surgery and the Scotsman is not expected to return to the ATP circuit in the next couple of months. But they are not the men they once were.

He will open a hard road against the American Donald Young, ranked No. 63, and, if Djokovic surpasses that, he would reach probably Gael Monfils and Wawrinka, the latter a three-time Grand Slam champion, 2014 Australian champion and veteran of knee surgery that prevented a title defense last August and September in NY.

This is important, not just as the season's first major, but because it will define the year for most of the sport's big names, especially the limping ones.

"I still know what I'm capable of, and I believe in my own abilities to win against the best players in the world", he said, rather optimistically. She ended up losing the grand final against Jelena Ostapenko and is poised to do better at the Australian Open this year. "I've done really everything in my power, with a team of people around me, to enable me to be right here in front of you guys, and to compete in Australian Open". It's different circumstances. But it is exciting.

Wawrinka left it until the last minute before making his decision to play.

Rafael Nadal, the top seed, could play Marin Cilic in the quarterfinals. That in itself was a huge step forward. 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. Schiavone was playing in the Australian Open main draw for the 17th time. He battled a knee problem in Brisbane but insisted he is in good shape. But slotted atop the top half, Nadal could take encouragement from a favourable draw as he looks to ease himself into competitive tennis.

"I practised with Rafa, I practised with Novak, with Berdych, with Monfils, with Dimitrov". "He's not going to put his coach Andre Agassi on a plane to Australia if he doesn't feel he's fit enough to make the second week and have a serious chance of winning this tournament".

With Serena Williams out after giving birth to her first child and injury doubts surrounding Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza, the tournament could be there for the taking by top-ranked Halep.

"We'll see what Serena comes back". Rafael Nadal, Spain; 2.

"I'm happy with the new service motion", he said. I've had the luxury of getting treated in my room at my hotel.

The American told Omnisport: "It will be interesting to see how Novak [Djokovic] goes after what has been a very concerning injury and Rafa [Nadal] obviously had an wonderful 2017, but Roger would be my clear favourite". "Is the first time I am here without playing official match", he said. I feel ready to start. I work hard in the off-season to create a base that serves me well throughout the season, and then I rework the base time and time again throughout the year.

The Swiss, seeded two, who starts his title defence against Aljaz Bedene, said he was feeling good and looking forward to the challenge. At 22, I felt the same.

"Ten days later we had them both in the women's and men's finals". Which should strike a chord of fear into the hearts of the tournament organisers.

Perennial favourite Roger Federer will begin his campaign on Tuesday, as will Australia's highest-ranked woman Ashleigh Barty. He delayed his return until two exhibition appearances last week. There's maybe many other players that are injured right now, but we don't talk about it because they're playing on Court 25. Tsitsipas is a former junior No. 1, but he never did win a junior Grand Slam title.

The bookies have Federer as the solid favourite to retain his Australian title with Nadal just behind him. Thiem has two Roland Garros semi-finals to his name but away from the slow red dirt, he is simply not the same player.

The Canadian lost all three matches at the Hopman Cup and was eliminated in the first round at Hobart, but said a buttock injury suffered in Perth was now fine. The bookies fancy his chances and so does everyone else who has surveyed the draw. "At the same time, I'm just doing what I can do". No wonder the sensible money is on him winning grand slam title No.20.

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