Nadal begins new era without mentor Toni Nadal in Australia

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But he said he feels good and his motivation remains strong.

Nadal withdrew from his first tour event of 2018, in Brisbane, with continuing knee problems, and has been getting in match practice in a Melbourne exhibition event this week ahead of Monday's start to the Open.

With Andy Murray injured, Novak Djokovic returning after a six-month lay-off and Rafael Nadal short of fitness, everything points towards Roger Federer this year in Melbourne. Wawrinka hasn't played since the first round of Wimbledon at the start of July, while Raonic's comeback last week wasn't almost good enough, facing 10 break points in defeat in his first match back against youngster Alex de Minaur.

"I am playing incredible tennis again and feeling just great", Kerber said. "But, again, I just don't feel like I want to do anything different or change things up because that's what I've been doing pretty much all my life", he added. "So I'm really looking forward to trying out my new serve!"

"Whenever I get asked that question, it always comes across in an nearly negative way instead of acknowledging how many great players we have", said the British number one.

After another season packed full of highs and lows in 2017, the 22-year-old was relaxed and thoughtful as he discussed his prospects for the Australian Open.

Rafael Nadal was a bustling teen when he was at loggerheads with Andre Agassi, a superstar well past his prime. "I've just got to get through those matches and we'll see how far I can go".

"I'll be over the moon if I can play, which I'm planning to".

Barty enjoyed a career-best season as she claimed the 2017 Newcombe Medal as Australian tennis' best-performed player.

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The winners of the potential Dimitrov-Kyrgios and Djokovic-Zverev fourth round matches would feel confident of making the final. No matter if I'm here, Wimbledon, US Open, it's the same for me.

"I think he's incredibly talented". "The job was done the right way".

World number one Rafa Nadal has been handed a more favourable draw, opening against Victor Estrella Burgos and with Marin Cilic the biggest threat in his quarter of the draw.

If he wins Australian Open, it will be his 17th grand slam and will also put him in an elite list of few players who have won all the Grand Slams at least twice in their career.

The only place he is yet to achieve the double is Australia.

"For me, the Australian Open. if you are not enough motivated, 100 percent motivated to play this tournament, probably you don't love this sport".

That was backed up by his recent run through to the Sydney International final that included highlight wins over former world number seven Fernando Verdasco and world no. 42 Benoit Paire. His potential third round seed will be Damir Dzumhur who had a breakout 2017 but has struggled to capture that form to start off the new season. I didn't win many sets, but that's not the most important.

Stephens came out of nowhere to win the U.S. Open previous year after a lengthy time out with an injury to her left foot.

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