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Nadal and Djokovic could well be favourites in Melbourne, says Federer

14 January 2018

"I feel ready to start", Halep said.

"Even Sydney I played (former world number two) Agnieszka (Radwanska)". It's a new year, new season.

"I love this sport, I really do". There's tons of things to look forward to.

"I don't feel pressure". "For me, it's because of me getting older".

"I can't thank him enough for everything".

Stephens agrees the Australian Open field is still extremely tough, even with Serena Williams, the defending champion and 23-time major victor, skipping the tournament as she continues her recovery from a complicated childbirth in September.

"What a comeback it was and it was definitely the highlight of the year".

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Kyrgios has played Federer twice over the last two years, with all six sets between the pair tie-breakers.

"I still know what I'm capable of, and I believe in my own abilities to win against the best players in the world", Djokovic said.

"For me, the Australian Open always, if you are not 100 percent motivated to play this tournament, you probably you don't love this sport", he said. In terms of that, it's a little bit overwhelming.

The Bulgarian has not found his form which saw him capture the Nitto ATP Finals so we'll see how he comes into the opening major of the season, defending semifinal points. "To win seven matches in a row, to say that's luck?"

Kyrgios warmed up for the Australian Open which gets underway on Monday, by winning the Brisbane International.

Without defending champion Serena Williams in the draw at the Australian Open, there's certainly an opportunity for another player to go on a surprising run and emerge as a first-time Grand Slam champion.

Williams, not prone to droughts herself, last played last January in winning the 2017 Australian Open, and gave birth to her daughter last September 1. The Australian Open gave us the chance to play like an open practice for the crowd. A fifth Australian Open crown this month would see Federer take sole ownership of fourth place on the all-time list where he trails Margaret Court (24), Serena Williams (23) and Steffi Graf (22) and is now tied on 19 with Helen Wills Moody.

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World No 1 Rafael Nadal might've lost last year's final to Federer, but just like his old rival the fact that he made it that far surprised one and all.

Relaxed: Roger Federer speaks to the media ahead of the Australian Open.

The 36-year-old Swiss, who is gunning for a 20th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, admitted Sunday he was enjoying it as much as ever, if not more.

He won all four of his matches against Nadal, but in his 37th year would be the last to take his fitness for granted. His health remains a big question mark-he sat out the last six months to recover from an elbow injury-but if he is in fact fit, he has to be considered a favorite despite his No. 14 ranking.

Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza hasn't had the flawless preparation, but is determined all the same.

Injuries to leading players have been a focus of attention in Australia.

The tournament runs from January 15 to 28 with the Women's and Men's Singles Final on the 27 and 28, respectively. Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY Sports Sloan Stephens and Madison Keys hug after the Women's Final in Ashe Stadium. His game will come to the fore in the second week.

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Nadal and Djokovic could well be favourites in Melbourne, says Federer