Australian Open preview: Can Federer do it again?

Lynette Rowe
January 13, 2018

Djokovic, who hasn't played competitively since a right elbow problem forced him to quit Wimbledon in the quarter-finals in July, is due in court on Wednesday to play Thiem.

Djokovic, who pulled out of a warm-up tournament in Abu Dhabi last week, easily overpowered Thiem, who only arrived in Melbourne on Monday night after four days in bed with a virus.

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

Nadal - who withdrew from the Mubadala World Tennis Championship and the Brisbane International - lost to Richard Gasquet at the Kooyong Classic on Tuesday before going down to Tomas Berdych in the Tie Break Tens tournament a day later.

Roger Federer is the "clear favourite" to retain his Australian Open title over an injury-riddled field when the first grand slam of the season starts next week in Melbourne.

Novak Djokovic, Garbine Muguruza and Stan Wawrinka all face fitness questions ahead of next week's Australian Open.

The Bulgarian came agonisingly close to beating Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals in Melbourne when he went down in a five-set humdinger, but finished the season ranked third after winning the biggest title of his career at the ATP Finals in London.

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Djokovic is in the bottom half anchored by second-seeded Roger Federer, who opens his title defence against 51 {+s} t-ranked Aljaz Bedene.

The Spanish Rafael Nadal, leader of the world rankings and one of its main rivals, will be measured at the premiere against the Dominican Victor Estrella.

The year's first Grand Slam has been hit by big-name withdrawals with the possibility of more...

"Ideally I would have had another tournament before the start of the Open, but it was not meant to be". She begins her Australian Open campaign against American Madison Brengle. The five-set victory over the Spaniard defied all expectations that anyone had from the 36-year-old, who will be looking to go into the 2018 edition of the Open to defend his title as one of the favourites.

THE Australian Open is missing two of its greatest stars.

"Still a lot to do but I'm feeling really positive so looking forward to starting", added the three-times grand slam victor. I can compete - but I don't want to just compete, I want to do far better than that and to do so, I will need a little more time.

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