Potential semi final between Federer and Djokovic in the Australian Open

Potential semi final between Federer and Djokovic in the Australian Open

Novak Djokovic has played in two exhibition tournaments as he comes back from a long injury layoff. I can't see him not collecting a sixth title in Melbourne.

The top 32 players for both the men's and the women's competition will be seeded. Sponsors might like the double opportunity to showcase their wares, but tennis has enough television challenges without viewers having to struggle to figure out who is who in a match.

Tennis Australia thus far has remained resistant to such demands, and though Navratilova said she would refuse to play on the court if she were still an active player, she considers it unlikely any of today's players will take that strong a stance.

Norrie, the sixth seed, came through his first-round match on Wednesday but was well beaten 6-4, 6-2 by Australian John-Patrick Smith. "I had a great four to six weeks of tennis training, and many months before that to get myself ready for the training".

Russian Andrey Rublev is happy to get some extra preparation ahead of the Australian Open as he featured the Priceline Pharmacy Kooyong Classic on Thursday.

Third seed Grigor Dimitrov and fifth seed David Goffin must face qualifiers whose identities are yet to be determined, while Marin Cilic, seeded sixth, faces Taiwan's Lu Yen-hsun.

'I think it will be Federer, I have to give it to him. "My plan for 2018 is similar and my aim is to miss out a few more events, but it will depend on results".

Murray's injury-enforced absence at least increases the chances of seeing a new name in the final.

Sock was the unlikely eighth man at the ATP Finals last year after his big win at the Paris Masters. They find themselves in the same quarter with Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem and a solid list of unseeded competitors that includes Fernando Verdasco, Steve Johnson, Hyeon Chung, Frances Tiafoe, Donald Young, and recent Doha winner Gael Monfils.

That seems the right message considering that Australia is part of the Asia-Pacific region and drawing an increasing number of spectators from that zone.

This was Nadal's first match in a while. His best finish in a Slam was a fourth-round stint at the 2017 Wimbledon Championships.

Last year's final was like stepping into a time warp as tennis' two most decorated stars battled it out over five gripping sets in the final.

Fresh from winning the Brisbane International, local hope Nick Kyrgios is up against Rogerio Dutra-Silva. Hampered by ongoing injuries, and just months after his grandfather passed away, Kyrgios smashed a couple of rackets in a four-set second-round exit at Roland Garros.

Meanwhile, Nadal will begin his bid for a second Australian Open title against Victor Estrella Burgos, the world No 81 from the Dominican Republic. If Bellis can make it into can make it past the third round then it will be a true demonstration of her potential.

It should be noted that the seedings have gone largely according to the ATP world rankings.

"Mental stress for women in a slam is harder than the men because it's harder break a game down in the women's game with defensive skills".

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