THE Australian Open is missing two of its greatest stars.
"All these things all play into it but at the end of the day I've been in this position thankfully many times before. What a comeback it was and it was definitely the highlight of the year". This and a tough draw has merited him a 14th seeding only.
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.
Serena pulled out of the Australian Open after losing a December exhibition match against Jelena Ostapenko in Abu Dhabi. "So that's the good news".
Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori also missed chunks.
Rafael Nadal confirmed himself a certain Australian Open starter after making a rusty return to the court at the Kooyong Classic. After last year's throwback season and 12 months on from his remarkable feat in Melbourne, there is nothing to suggest Federer will be in anything less than top shape at a tournament he has won five times. "I certainly will hope I put myself in that position", Sharapova said.
The first Grand Slam of 2018 is just about here in the Australian Open from Melbourne.
Venus Williams says Serena is "here in spirit" supporting her in Australia, where she's hopeful of ending an nearly decade-long Grand Slam title drought. He could meet Nick Kyrgios in a fourth-round blockbuster, which would be a rematch of their Brisbane semi-final last week, won by the gifted but combustible Aussie.
She said: "I have pain in my right adductor". His only Australian Open title came in 2009, but he has was a finalist three other times. She could face two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the third round and Karolina Pliskova in the quarters.
Muguruza is expecting the constant changes at the top of the women's game to continue in 2018.
"It feels good", he said of his elbow, per Yahoo! "This is going to be a very interesting year".
Djokovic, a surprise second-round loser here a year ago, is hoping he can get fit enough to change that in 2018.
"I'm still jet-lagged, I was slow at the beginning of the match".
"Of all the players that are coming back from surgeries or injuries, you'd think Novak would be the best one because he hasn't actually had surgery, even though there's been a niggling problem with his elbow".
"Rafa was looking for match play and of course we were more than happy to oblige", he said.