Australian Open 2018: Federer reveals his two favourites, earmarks expectations from tournament

On The Line podcast Australian Open preview

Day one attendance stood at 48,149 before the evening session featuring last year's runner up Rafael Nadal and Australian hope Nick Kyrgios.

Federer, of course, proved everyone wrong in emphatic style toppling four top 10 players - Tomas Berdych, Kei Nishikori, StanislasWawrinka and Rafael Nadal - en route to the title.

The Australian Open 2018 will be played from 15 to 28 January in Melbourne in Australia.

"He couldn't break his serve".

"Throughout the tournament, I don't know how it's going to behave".

A 17th grand slam title would bring him within striking distance of the record 19 held by Federer but Nadal said he had no extra need for motivation at Melbourne Park.

Rafael Nadal showed that talk of his demise had been exaggerated by winning the French and U.S. Open titles past year although he faces a battle to repeat those feats without his lifelong coach and uncle Toni while also fighting familiar injury troubles.

The Spanish world No. 1 was hampered by a knee injury at the tail-end of the 2017 season, and he entered the opening Grand Slam of the year without playing a warm-up event.

"When I was number one in the world, winning all these tournaments, that was a lot of fun, too". Serena Williams, who was pregnant when she beat Venus here a year ago to claim her 23rd major title, gave birth to her first child - Alexis Olympia - in September. But perhaps the biggest threat looming in that quarter is Nick Kyrgios, who could be eying bigger things after intermittently showing just how good he is previous year. It was Nadal's first match of the season after withdrawing from Brisbane and an exo in Abu Dhabi to rest his knee.

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"With age, I feel like I play down my chances just because I don't think a 36-year-old should be a favourite of a tournament, it should not be the case", the world number two said Sunday.

Djokovic, a surprise second-round loser here previous year, is hoping he can get fit enough to change that in 2018.

The 16-times grand slam champion showed no sign of discomfort in defeating fifth seed Thiem and said he felt "good" and was "more or less" playing well. It's a hard follow for United States' tennis fans, as play tends to go overnight.

• Garbine Muguruza is the reigning Wimbledon champion, though her health has been in question.

She reached the at least the last eight in both of her Australian Open appearances to date, but slumped out of the Sydney International in the first round and faces a tricky opener against competitive American Madison Brengle.

• Caroline Wozniacki had a career-reviving 2017 and could return to No. 1 for the first time in six years with a strong showing.

Languishing in the rankings after injury-enforced absences, Federer and Nadal rolled back the years to set up what many believed was one last dance on the big stage.

Victory for Venus would see her eclipse Ken Rosewall as the oldest player ever to win a major.

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