Australian Open: I should not be favourite - Federer

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He was originally due to play at the Brisbane International, but had to pull out as he battled various niggles, his pre-season not complete after a heavy 2017. "(2017 is over) Everyone starts from zero. "I'm happy to be back", he said. The 2007 edition was one of the hottest seasons of the Aus Open. I know one day I won't have the chance to play again in this court, so I want to enjoy every moment I am here.

Whether a lack of match play will come back to bite him or not is anyone's guess, but he is doing his best to address the issues.

Six-time Australian Open victor Djokovic has been sidelined for six months with an injured right elbow, returning with a remodeled service motion, and 2014 champion Wawrinka has also been out of the game since Wimbledon after surgery on his knee.

"It hasn't been 100 per cent yet healed".

"I think it's always a tough transition when you go from not playing tennis for 11 months to winning a Grand Slam", she said.

He added that he did not know whether he would be able to compete at the highest level. "It feels very good to win my first title in my first tournament this year".

Giant German Alexander Zverev has been widely tipped for greatness but has so far failed to go beyond a Grand Slam fourth round - something he plans to fix at the Australian Open. His 2017 comeback could be inspiration for the likes of Djokovic, who has won the Australian title a record six times but has been sidelined since Wimbledon with a right elbow injury. It was a great preparation previous year.

"I think improving the Grand Slam performances", he said at Melbourne Park when asked what his key goal was for the year.

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This is important, not just as the season's first major, but because it will define the year for most of the sport's big names, especially the limping ones. "I mean, I'm number four in the world for a reason", he said.

"I never look at the draw".

Roger Federer is playing down his Australian Open expectations.

This time, Federer breezily walked into the Australian Open drawcarrying the trophy just a few days after helping Switzerland win the Hopman Cup mixed team even. She could face two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the third round and Karolina Pliskova in the quarters.

Six times a men's singles champion Down Under, the Serbian will be joined in making a return at Melbourne Park by 2008 women's champion Maria Sharapova, who missed last year's tournament because of a doping ban.

Serena Williams beat her older sister Venus Williams in the final to capture an Open era-record 23rd major here a year ago but decided against defending her title because she didn't have enough time to recover from health issues after a complicated childbirth in September.

At 5-0 down, the world number 79 finally held his serve, before Nadal closed out the opener with a deft drop shot in the following game.