The future 5 at the Australian Open

The future 5 at the Australian Open

But he admitted he can not give himself a clear bill of health until he plays in the Australian Open next week. And he got some great projected seeds in a third round clash with Damir Dzumhur, 16 John Isner in the fourth before the Croation Cilic, who also has a very agreeable draw. "I certainly will hope I put myself in that position", Sharapova said.

When the six-time Australian Open champion withdrew from the season-opening Qatar Open, he said he "did not know what was going to happen".

The women's side of the draw is wide open, with Serena Williams announcing last week she will not be there to defend her crown despite demonstrating her fitness in an exhibition win over Jelena Ostapenko in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in December.

"It's the first time in my career that I've had such a long break", Djokovic explained. "I'm excited about it and I've got a few days to practice".

Federer hailed Nadal for putting up a great fight in last year's Open.

"I don't want to be over-confident but I'm very, very happy with the way it went today".


"Me and Safwat have been really good friends for a long time and past year we didn't play many tournaments together but we always try to support each other, help each other as much as we can, so it's a really good thing for me that I have him hear by my side and also that I'm there for him in his matches", says Maamoun.

Halep, ranked No. 1, is aiming to win her first Grand Slam title. I'm getting in the groove and getting my elbow in the match play and was the first best-of-three match that I've played since Wimbledon a year ago.

An unlikely victor at Melbourne Park in 2017 before going on to capture Wimbledon, the evergreen 36-year-old - who enjoyed a renaissance last season having been struck down by injuries in 2016 - is trusting his tried and tested preparation, having featured at the Hopman Cup in Perth just like he did last year.

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic arrived here one year ago as the top two seeds at the Australian Open. It's always been a big goal for me to play here, to compete and see the top players, so it was an fantastic feeling.

"I just have to pace myself all the way up to the tournament in Melbourne, and I'll be ready", he said after his Hopman Cup final victory with Switzerland teammate Belinda Bencic.

The Swiss will be gunning for a 20th grand slam title, but following Thursday's draw, the heat will be on for the 36-year-old in Melbourne.

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