Federer & Nadal Should Reach Final Rounds

Federer & Nadal Should Reach Final Rounds

The Australian Open is thus a chance for the younger generation to get ahead and grab the proverbial bull by the horns.

Talent he has in plenty, but the volatile Australian's potential has often been betrayed by his temperament. The ATP Tour doesn't have a dearth of talent among the mid-20s lot, it has usually been a case of superior and more expedience competition.

World number one Nadal, meanwhile, has been granted what appears to be a relatively simple route into the latter stages of the tournament, but only if last year's beaten finalist can prove his fitness following recent knee problems of his own.

Djokovic, 30, enters the 2018 Australian Open as the 14th seed, the first time he has been ranked outside the top 10 at the year's first Grand Slam in a decade, after missing much of 2017 with an elbow injury, reports Xinhua news agency.

"I'm really, really happy to be back on the Tour and seeing the sun", Wawrinka told reporters after an event with the tournament's ball kids at Melbourne Park on Tuesday.

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.

"But, as he indicated this morning, he will be ready to play and it's great to see him out here".

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In Thursday's draw, 36-year-old Federer, bidding for a record 20th Grand Slam title, has a first round encounter with the 51st-ranked Bedene.

There has been little to cheer since the turn of the century and the last time an Australian made it to the men's final at Melbourne Park was Lleyton Hewitt in 2005.

They were all square after two sets, with Thiem winning a first-set tiebreak before Nadal hit his straps in the second set.

The 22-year-old crowd-puller, ranked 17, has the exceptional talent to beat the best but so often undermines his brilliance with petulance directed at the umpire or fans.

But he has already had a rough start to the season - pulling out of the Qatar Open semi-final with flu, losing to Novak Djokovic at Kooyong before pulling out as with the same virus, disrupting the world number five's build-up to the Australian Open.

Should he succeed, Federer will move onto six Australian Open crowns - the joint highest tally of any man alongside Djokovic and Roy Emerson.