Federer set for first match

Grigor Dimitrov is intent on seizing the moment and ushering in a new era of men's tennis as he heads the queue of unfulfilled talents chasing Australian Open glory at Melbourne Park.

"But, as he indicated this morning, he will be ready to play and it's great to see him out here".

The Austrian played at the Grand Slam tune-up event on Wednesday, losing in straight sets to Novak Djokovic.

"So this phase now, the last eight years have just been the best".

There is the issue of its structure, which, with multiple governing bodies and no final arbiter, severely limits its ability to make calendar changes.

Would the 2017 Federer vs. Nadal revival have been as memorable in three sets?

"For me it's about how long the calendar is in terms of mandatory events for the top players".

In a separate rule change created to get matches started more quickly, warm-up times will be strictly enforced.


With the Australian Open in January and the Paris Masters and World Tour Finals ending in November, it is a marathon for the elite - an ultramarathon if they play in the Davis Cup final, too. And when you see the finish line, you don't slow down.

"What these two guys have done for the sport, on and off the court, is incredible", he said. You're not just breaking down the body during matches; you're breaking it down during training. "I certainly will hope I put myself in that position", Sharapova said. A handy consultant last season, four-time champion Andre Agassi is said to be now planning a late dash Down Under to re-join the team after a snowboarding mishap back home.

Meanwhile, world number one Rafael Nadal, who finished second best in last year's final, will open his campaign against 37-year-old Victor Estrella Burgos.

There will be mutterings of a 10th Grand Slam final meeting between the pair before a ball is even tossed into the Melbourne air, and though it may be a friendly rivalry, Nadal will be out for revenge after last year's defeat.

It is only now, as the haze clears over the wreckage of the 2017 season during which many players crumbled with injury, coupled with the slow realisation that Federer and Nadal may be unable to repeat last year's exploits, that people seem to realise Djokovic's worth. The Dane will also look to improve upon her record of semi finals in 2011 and win her first ever Grand Slam title.

Serena Williams, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Victoria Azarenka will be missing from the women's. At the Melbourne Park, that trend might continue in 2018.

Simona Halep is No. 1 in the women's draw, followed by Carolina Wozniacki and Garbine Muguruza. However, her inconsistency in recent months will be her undoing and will be a big miss for a tournament lacking star names.

Court, a Pentecostal pastor, has strong views on homosexuality. They can be frictionless slogs that no casual tennis fan wants to sit through.

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