Djokovic happy after first match in six months

Novak Djokovic Stan Wawrinka train on the Rod Laver Arena

Novak Djokovic Stan Wawrinka train on the Rod Laver Arena 7 Jan 2018  View 3368 by Gatto Luigi

The draw for both men and women consists of 128 players.

Federer, even at 36, is the rightful Australian Open favorite after appearing fresh and sharp in the Hopman Cup team event. The equivalent numbers for Federer (until the 2017 Australian Open) are 8.06%, 15.32%, 31.45% and 15.89. The one-sided winning score was reminiscent of the kind of dominant victories Djokovic used to pull out, winning the match against a Top Five player, 6-1, 6-4, at the Kooyong Classic.

Switzerland's Roger Federer walks on to the court before his semi final match against Belgium's David Goffin.

During the week in Perth, #Roger Federer put in a serious amount of high-quality and highly-entertaining tennis. "It was hot as hell in there", he started. Djokovic, who some thought may not be in playing shape, looked fantastic against Thiem in the decisive win.

The 25-year-old will now have to win three sudden-death qualifying matches if he has to secure his Open entry for a 10th year in a row.

His longevity has been marvelled at far and wide, underlined by the fact that his 2017 victory came 13 years after his first.

"My idea is just to keep practicing hard the next couple of days to be ready for the beginning of the Australian Open".

The waiting is almost over for tennis fans.

The projected women's quarterfinals include Simona Halep vs. Karolina Pliskova, Garbine Muguruza vs. Caroline Garcia, Venus Williams vs. Elina Svitolina and Jelena Ostapoenko vs. Caroline Wozniacki. "So glad to be back and so nice to start in a country and a city where I have the greatest memories". Djokovic faces American Donald Young in the opening round.

Australian breakout star Ash Barty will be leading the Australian hopes after being seeded 18th.

Tennis, a game played on intersecting lines, is at a crossroads and not just in terms of how it responds to its latest surge in injuries. New rules reverting Grand Slams to 16 seeds from the current 32 are due to come into force in 2019. Federer took his grand slam tally to 19 after extended rest breaks and Nadal, who enters his 18th season on the ATP tour, has also benefitted from carefully picking tournaments to preserve his fitness, something he will do so again this year. Some players can beat themselves, as they struggle to trust their own bodies. There's actually a modified solution that has gained renewed calls for attention: reserving best-of-five matches for the late stages of the Grand Slams.

When is the Australian Open? No player has won multiple Australian Open titles over a longer period in the Open era.

There is one man, though, who, for a good part of his career, has thrillingly disrupted this binary.

Can Rafael Nadal challenge in Melbourne?

Federer, who is present at Thursday's draw, will open his title defence against Slovenian world No 51 Aljaz Bedene.

It is impossible to ignore the sense of confusion and suffering that has pervaded the tournament.

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