Nadal preparation may cost repeat of Federer epic at Australian Open

ATP RANKINGS Rafael Nadal is 1000 points ahead of Roger Federer

The flashback slam got the finish it deserved when Federer outlasted his good friend Nadal in a colossal five-set battle on Rod Laver Arena.

Young gun Zverev had little luck in his first Australian Open draw as a top five seed with either Wawrinka, who plays Ricardas Berankis, or Novak Djokovic potentially standing in his path in the quarter-finals.

The Australian Open 2018 will be contested from January 15 to January 28 at the very prestigious Melbourne Park. He is seeking consecutive major wins for the first time since winning the French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open in 2010.

"I just thought that the game and the wins weren't going to come ... because I would just run into a red-hot Djokovic or Murray or Nadal or somebody and my game wasn't going to be good enough", Federer recalled.

"You see how physical it is on the court, and then you see the traveling and the challenge of our sport versus others in terms of time zone changes and the variables in conditions", said Justin Gimelstob, an ATP board member and former player and coach.

The signs were less than positive when he suffered more pain in the elbow and withdrew from his scheduled opening tournament of 2018 in Abu Dhabi.

"I feel my biggest expectation is from myself", Venus Williams said, dismissing any notion that age or expectations will weigh heavily on her. "No one ever wants to let themselves down". In total, the Williams sisters have claimed thirty Grand Slam titles since 1999; their extraordinary longevity is a credit to the sport. He could meet Nick Kyrgios in a fourth-round blockbuster, which would be a rematch of their Brisbane semi-final last week, won by the gifted but combustible Aussie.

"Obviously I missed tennis (when he was sidelined for six months last year)". 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.

These will have to wait till the later stages of the tournament - Djokovic's current ranking of 14 has handed him a rough draw.

Top-ranked Simona Halep opens against Australian wild card Destanee Aiava, has a potential second-round match against 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., and is in the same half as Garbine Muguruza, the Wimbledon champion.

Australian bad boy Bernard Tomic was fined a third of his £35,000 ($47,500) prize money for unsportsmanlike conduct at Wimbledon, after saying he felt "bored" and "couldn't care less" following a straight-sets defeat on day one. "To me, he's the clear favourite".

TOWNSVILLE junior Lizette Cabrera will look to turn the tables on Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia when they face off in the first round of the Australian Open. "But when he's on, he's on, and he's really difficult to beat". With an abundance of activities and events, the project will provide an insight into the life and times of these artists. Another young player who is one to watch in the Australian Open is Francis Tiafoe who has already defeated Alexander Zverev, as well as pushing Federer to five sets at last year's US Open.

There is also the Plexicushion court to consider, which, in spite of repeated denials by the authorities, looked faster than ever last year.

World No.1 Nadal opens against Victor Estrella Burgos, while defending champion and second seed Federer plays Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene in the first round.

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