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Tennis: Evergreen Federer is clear Australian Open favourite

13 Enero 2018
Tennis: Evergreen Federer is clear Australian Open favourite

But for now, no younger woman has demonstrated the ability to dominate in the absence of Williams and no younger man has demonstrated the ability to handle Grand Slam occasions anywhere near as well as Nadal, Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic.

Federer opens the tournament against an opponent ranked 51 in the world, who last month Switched allegiances back to Slovenia after two-and-a-half spell competing under the British flag.

Federer, though, is intimately familiar with the pressure weighing down on a defending champion and will take a typically philosophical approach to his campaign at Melbourne Park.

It was the latest stumble for the former world No 1 but his 2017 took a more serious downward turn in the summer when, after pulling out during his Wimbledon quarter-final against Tomas Berdych, he announced he would be taking the rest of the season off to rehabilitate an ongoing elbow problem.

"Nadal, he's No 1 in the world and made the finals last year - I don't think I would be ahead of him as a favourite".

Halep could face twice Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the third round and is in the same half as Muguruza who may have to get past Sharapova in round four.

On a day which saw Britain's last qualifying hope, Cameron Norrie, fall by the wayside, Edmund landed the most awkward of first-round draws against 11 seed Anderson, a 6ft 8in South African whose previous conquests at major tournaments include Andy Murray and Milos Raonic.

He said: "I don't want to be overconfident".

But whether she accomplishes that feat or not, she has already cemented her legacy as it's hard to argue that she isn't the greatest to ever pick up a racket. Does the schedule need to be further shortened or restructured?

"Unbelievable. In my vision, I never had this, that I was going to be playing tennis with four kids".

Three-time Grand Slam champion Stanislas Wawrinka, seeded ninth in Melbourne, will take on unseeded Richard Berankis in the first round.

The 2018 Australian Open is not the ultimate tennis reunion it could have been.

Nadal's five-set defeat to Federer last year will go down as a true epic between two sporting greats, but the longest grand slam final in the Open era belongs to Djokovic and Nadal, who battled for five hours and 53 minutes in 2012. However, her inconsistency in recent months will be her undoing and will be a big miss for a tournament lacking star names.

His longevity has been marvelled at far and wide, underlined by the fact that his 2017 victory came 13 years after his first. But extending that advantage to other Grand Slam nations is nothing more than mutual back scratching. "I put a lot of expectations on myself because I have been there, and I have delivered in those moments".

The final category is the young players to watch. Martina Navratilova, who, like Court, is a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, is one of the more prominent figures who have called for a change.