Never to old to change

Never to old to change

"Ever since Radek chose to join the team, he was with me more or less the entire time, trying to spend as much quality time on the court as much as we can".

Entering as the No. 1 seed for the first time at a major and at a tournament where she's had back-to-back first-round exits, two-time French Open finalist Halep opens against teenage wild-card entry Destanee Aiava.

Australian Open 2018 When is it on?

AN overwhelming favourite to land a 20th major, Roger Federer has moved to temper Australian Open expectations by declaring he is not 100 per cent ahead of his Melbourne Park return. Talking with the Australian Open, yeah, they gave us the chance to play like an open practice but closer to the match for the crowd.

What used to be the greatest generation of male tennis players the sport has ever seen has limped towards Melbourne Park for the start tomorrow of the Australian Open (officially sponsored by Kia Motors but unofficially helped on its way by the Red Cross, Medicare and Elastoplast). Venus Williams is a threat at 37 years old after finishing runner-up to her sister last year. "I think attacking tennis also has a lot of wear and tear on the body", he said.

The Australian Open's defending champion deserves the tag of favourite as he was only beaten five times in the whole of 2017.

World number one Rafael Nadal withdrew from his first tour event of 2018, in Brisbane, with continuing knee problems, and has been trying to catch up on the court in Melbourne ahead of the Open.

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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.

World No. 1, Simona Halep is yet to win a Grand Slam title and lost in the first round to Shelby Rogers in last year's tournament.

Even three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray had some kind words for the 18-year-old sensation.

Yet few would be surprised if the tournament ends in a repeat of last year's final with Federer up against his great Spanish rival and top seed Rafa Nadal. "But I feel good", said the 31-year-old, who played his first Australian Open in 2004. A fourth-round run at Wimbledon past year represents his best Grand Slam effort, failing to beat a top-50 player in a major event to date.

"I think he's going to have a good year", Federer said.

The other main challenger to Federer is of course Rafael Nadal. "My coach and team always said, 'Only go to tournaments when you are prepared to go all the way.' I can compete - but I don't want to just compete, I want to do far better than that and to do so, I will need a little more time".

The 2014 victor Stan Wawrinka also makes his return from the sidelines, while a host of maiden major-title hopefuls will be looking to make their breakthrough at Melbourne Park. I feel that I had a good week and a half of practices. Okay, I have even more points to defend this year rather than last year. I don't know what's going to happen. During all these years, I was very happy to keep playing tennis. Dimitrov, the world's No.3 seems to be intent, at 26, to become the player he has threatened to be since he was 20.

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