Australian Open preview and predictions

With five-time Australian Open finalist Andy Murray's withdrawal, and Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic under injury clouds, Federer acknowledged that there is a price to pay when playing "highly explosive tennis".

"If you're in the draw, you give yourself a chance".

When asked how many years we can expect to see him at Melbourne Park, Nadal added: 'This year we are here, that's all I can say. This group has been knocking on the doors for some time and past year took advantage of the many players carrying and later withdrawing with injuries.

Players at the Australian Open are finalizing preparations for the year's first major despite some uncharacteristic rain over the last few days.

"Having no expectations was so nice after all these years always having expectations, like now this year again". 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.

Rafael Nadal has ringed in the nostalgia at the 2018 edition of the Australian Open, which has come as a source of great happiness for his fans after returning to a sleeveless shirt after nearly a decade. Defending champion Roger Federer is seeded second while World No. 1 Rafael Nadal is seeded first in the tournament. If (Goffin) he is fresh, and I believe that he is, he's very complete player.

"That's why I see things more relaxed, you know, at a later stage of my career".

Federer will begin his 20th Australian Open campaign on Tuesday against world number 51 Aljaz Bedene, the former Briton who returned to playing under the Slovenian flag on 1 January. The draws are always tough, I must admit. Over five Americans - including fifth seed Venus Williams and US Open champion Sloane Stephens - were knocked out in the opening day of Australian Open.

And the 26-year-old Romanian, who now has no clothing sponsor, confirmed she would wear the same "lucky" red dress in Australia that she used while registering a dominant victory at the Shenzhen Open a fortnight ago.

"I think it was a huge opportunity and I used it, so I was very relieved after the match point".

Nadal, who won the French and U.S. Open titles a year ago, has also had a limited preparation restricted to couple of exhibition matches last week as he recovers from a sore knee.

There's a potential semi-final against Djokovic, who is aiming for a record seventh Australian Open title but is seeded 14th as he returns from six months on the sidelines with a right elbow injury.

Rublev, the 30th seed, won an attritional battle with the doughty back-courter before prevailing 7-5, 6-7 (6/8), 6-2, 6-7 (6/8), 6-2 in 3 hours and 50 minutes on an outside court to reach the second round for the second straight year. The main issue for Nadal is fitness; he hasn't played a competitive match since mid-November and pulled out of a recent warm-up event in Brisbane, citing a knee injury.

  • Julie Sanders