Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

The talking points as big names gear up for Australian Open

The talking points as big names gear up for Australian Open

And his performance gave him plenty of reasons to be happy, with the six-time Australian Open champion making a statement with a 6-1 6-4 win over world No.5 Dominic Thiem.

The Australian Open begins on Monday and, with notable absentees in both draws, there are big prices available on promising players, says Max Liu.

Although Djokovic said he was delighted with his performance, especially his serve, he acknowledged that he was still not in ideal shape.

Recently, Nadal made a rusty return from his injury-layoff as he slumped to a straight sets defeat to veteran Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the exhibition event at the Kooyong Classic in Melbourne.

Annacone believes that Federer proved the doubters wrong, after failing to win a major title for four years from 2013 before taking two in 2017: the Australian Open and Wimbledon, where he became the oldest victor in the modern era at 35.

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And so if the 2017 Australian Open was one for the ages - the revival of the Federer- Nadal rivalry and another Williams sisters final - the 2018 edition is shaping as a survival of the fittest.

"I think it's normal because there's a lot of expectations this year", he was quoted as saying by the Australian Open website.

The Swiss legend, who starts as favourite to win his 20th Grand Slam title, has been handed a tough draw as he could face either 22nd seed Milos Raonic or 13th seed Sam Querrey as early as in the fourth round.

Muguruza's preparations for the first grand slam of the year have been similarly thrown into disarray after she was forced to withdraw from the Sydney International with a leg injury.

Germany's Zverev won their only match so far, comfortably defeating Djokovic in straight sets in the Rome Masters final past year.

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Third-seeded Muguruza is in a hard quarter containing former Australian Open champions Maria Sharapova and Angelique Kerber, and U.S. Open finalist Madison Keys.

The first Grand Slam of 2018 is just about here in the Australian Open from Melbourne.

The Melbourne crowds will throw their support behind the two grand slam titans but the younger generation of players probably wish they would just go away.

"This whole tennis thing is kind of getting to me", said Aiava, who is ranked world No.193. "For me it was not ideal to not be in Brisbane, I would have loved to be there but I had to make a different schedule this year", Nadal said during the week.

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