Federer still the man to beat at Melbourne Park

Aubrey Yates
January 13, 2018

"I'm pretty good, a bit exhausted, I worked hard while I've been in Australia which is why I arrived pretty early here, so I can't wait to start this tournament", Pouille said.

"We have nobody who has taken the bull by the horns, since Serena has been out of the game, started her own dominance", twice Australian Open champion Chris Evert, a commentator for ESPN at the Open, said.

Novak Djokovic admits there's still a chance he could withdraw from the Australian Open, moving to ease expectation over his performance at the grand slam he's dominated for a decade.

Del Potro could run into two-time Australian Open semifinalist Tomas Berdych in the third round, should the Czech take down fleet-footed Australian wildcard Alex De Minaur.

Alexander Zverev clinched two ATP Masters 1000 in 2017, Grigor Dimitrov won the year-ending ATP Finals and Nick Kyrgios recently won his first title on home soil. "Luckily for me I'm here and so I'm hoping in the next four, five days everything will go well and I'll be ready for the Open".

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The Russian captured his first ATP title a year ago and reached the US Open quarter-finals - where he couldn't pull off a major upset and beat eventual champion Rafael Nadal.

"I haven't played in six months". Given that few in the sport would have predicted this resurgence by the legendary veterans, I perhaps risk embarrassment by attempting to preview and predict this year's tournament.

Federer still the man to beat at Melbourne Park

While Angelique Kerber has slid down the rankings, and is seeded just 21 for this tournament, as a multiple Grand Slam champion and former Australian Open victor, she should not be losing in the early rounds.

ESPN analyst and former world number one Chris Evert said his experience and smooth style of play, which has left him relatively injury-free, set him apart from the field.

World number ones Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep have been named top seeds for the first major of the season, Australian Open, which will commence from January 15 at the Melbourne Park. "I'm just going to go out there, try to weather the storm, and try to play my game", De Minaur said.

As for Federer, it is business as usual in his pursuit of a remarkable 20th grand slam.

"Roger with the year he had last year and Nadal, I don't think I'll be the favourite".

There had been doubt whether he would even make the trip to Melbourne.

Now ranked No47, she could face the 14th seed Anastasija Sevastova in the second round, Angelique Kerber - the 2016 champion - in the third round and, potentially, Garbine Muguruza, the Wimbledon champion, in the fourth round.

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