Novak Djokovic dominates Dominic Thiem in first match since Wimbledon

Rafael Nadal is seen during a practice session at Rod Laver Arena

During the week in Perth, #Roger Federer put in a serious amount of high-quality and highly-entertaining tennis.

Only a few days before the first ball is struck, the Australian Open resembles a shredded carcass. The seeding for the January Slam was announced on Wednesday (11th January) by the authorities that be.

"This went on for a good 20 minutes and at the end we're even swearing a little bit because we couldn't get it done but the other 18 minutes we're probably just laughing like this uncontrollably".

The Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal rivalry is probably the most sentimental of rivalries in tennis. "So it's always very treacherous to speculate when they are finished or able to make a comeback or not". I came here with a lot of doubt.

Then there is the more cyclical matter of whether a new ruling class is at last prepared to take power on the court.

Organizers defended the decision to invite Sharapova to appear as the representative for the women's draw, with tournament director Craig Tiley saying the sanction was over and the 30-year-old Russian was there as a former champion. The five-time champion could meet a one of the tour's biggest servers on tour in either No.13 seed Sam Querrey or former semifinalist Milos Raonic in the fourth round. The Bulgarian bounced back to win his first Masters 1000 in Cincinnati only to cap that with a huge win at the ATP Nitto Finals in London.

Top-seeded Simona Halep opens against the wild card Destanee Aiava, and could face the slumping star Eugenie Bouchard in the second round.

The majority of the BBC's coverage is on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra. He beat Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets in the second round of the 2017 US Open.

Can Rafael Nadal challenge in Melbourne? The third-seeded Bulgarian, despite falling in the semifinals in his Brisbane International title defence last week, has imposed himself at last as a serious contender with victory in the season-ending ATP Finals. That's on the plan.

Court, a Pentecostal pastor, has strong views on homosexuality.

But he has been sidelined for close to six months after deciding to have surgery following Wimbledon in July.

He won just three more matches for the season as his ranking slumped to 142. But I'm not in a rush. "No, there's no chance".

The three-time Grand Slam champion hasn't played since Wimbledon, but said on Tuesday he had recovered sufficiently from a knee injury to feature in the year's opening Grand Slam, starting in Melbourne on Monday.

The tennis community and sporting world yearns for another instalment in the Federer-Nadal rivalry but while form is temporary and class is permanent, a lack of preparation may rob the Australian public of another unforgettable event.

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