Australian Open 2018: What the players are saying

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Wawrinka left it until the last minute before making his decision to play. Dimitrov's generation, being the anomaly that it is, has failed to produce even a one-time Grand Slam champion, and has no player yet that has attained the top rank in the men's singles circuit! That in itself was a huge step forward. I was so inadequate; I was just out. Wawrinka hasn't played since the first round of Wimbledon at the start of July, while Raonic's comeback last week wasn't almost good enough, facing 10 break points in defeat in his first match back against youngster Alex de Minaur. That's something really good from my side, especially from the knee. "I was thinking, 'how did I lose that match?'" But after giving himself time to reflect on the match, his perspective changed.

Dimitrov's ranking brings me to another interesting observation. I didn't win many sets, but that's not the most important.

The dawning of a new tennis season has in past years triggered lots of confident predictions - whether it be the continued domination of Serena Williams or, in most seasons, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

The other main challenger to Federer is of course Rafael Nadal. Nadal is coming into the tournament after suffering a knee injury in later stages of 2017.

"If I got to play the way I did yesterday against the number five in the world ..."

Novak Djokovic
GETTY Novak Djokovic hijacked a player's meeting to gain support for a union

"It's been great to see Alex do so well, he's worked so hard, he's very hungry and it's good to see all the work he's been putting in is paying off now, " Kyrgios said. And Nadal has plenty of previous when it comes to injuries.

"For me, it's because of me getting older". I'm not going to say quarter-finals, semi-finals, anything like that.

The Serbian former world number one has been out of action for six months, and while he enjoyed having his first real break since turning professional, he is ready to get back to business. That fifth set against Rafa was maybe the best set I've ever played. At 22, I felt the same. Which should strike a chord of fear into the hearts of the tournament organisers. How could these two old champions turn it on again? The past records at the four Grand Slams of the generation in question instills little confidence in their abilities to crack open the draws at this year's majors.

Roger Federer is no stranger to performing superhuman feats on the tennis court so it wasn't a surprise when he and Milos Raonic were joined by a couple of superheroes during "Kids Day" ahead of the Australian Open. Another possible challenger to the Swiss maestro is young German Alexander Zverev, but he remains unproven in majors and is in need of his breakthrough moment. The bookies fancy his chances and so does everyone else who has surveyed the draw.

"I haven't been spending too much time around the courts".

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