Cabrera draws Maia in Australian Open opener

Federer backs one star to step up at the Australian Open amid 'Big Four' crisis

The top 32 players in the draw are seeded, meaning they can't meet until the third round, while the top 16 can't meet each other until the fourth round and so on, with the first and second seeds unable to meet until the final. "I think he has a real joy for the game", she said.

Williams left Melbourne a year ago with a 23rd grand slam title under her belt but soon hung up her racket for the remainder of 2017 upon discovering she was eight weeks pregnant at the time of her triumph.

"Mentally, it's not there but, hopefully, I can get there all together by the first round".

Federer hailed Nadal for putting up a great fight in last year's Open. Obviously I'm very happy with the way it went today.

Players will also be able to claim 50 percent of their prize money if they pull out before their first match, an incentive created to allow a replacement to play instead.With tens of thousands of dollars at stake just for playing in round one, early injury pull-outs have often caused suspicion at Grand Slams, particularly at last year's Wimbledon.

Novak Djokovic at the 2016 ATP Tour Finals.

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The Australian Open is the second straight Grand Slam to be badly hit by injury issues. Referring to the final set of the thriller, which he won 6-3, he said: "It was an unbelievable final, an fantastic moment for me in my life and it's great to be back here", as quoted by the Express. With Roger Federer the front runner in this year's tournament Down Under, the Swiss will be looking to equal this record since he is one AO slam short, something that Nole would like to prevent.

"Rafa and Roger are the best ones, but I'm playing well and I'm in good shape".

"I had a long year last year, so I had to start my preparation later than usual".

Doubt was cast over whether Djokovic would be fit to play in the Australian Open, which starts on Monday, when he withdrew from warm-up events in Abu Dhabi and Doha after feeling pain in the elbow.

"I know he's got a bit of a mixed image for some people". Former world No. 1 Moya will lead the Mallorcan's team, after spending last season with Rafael and Toni preparing for the latter's retirement, having helped Nadal roar back to life after a barren three-year spell without a Grand Slam trophy.

The 16-time Grand Slam victor was far from his best in the exhibition encounter against a player he has beaten 15-0 on the ATP Tour in a rivalry dating back to junior days.

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