Wawrinka ready for Australian Open

"It was the highlight of a year ago, beating Wimbledon and all the other tournaments I played".

"I think he's incredibly talented - we had a great match in Miami a year ago and also at the Laver Cup".

This year's Australian Open has been deprived of some of the biggest names including Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori. The unpredictable nature of the women's sport in Serena's absence has paved the way for anyone to catch fire over two weeks and shock their way to the title.

To predict a victor of either of the singles titles is hard. Novak Djokovic. He has not always been fully appreciated - a goofy sense of humour and a range of antics including chest-thumping and roaring have at times detracted from the perception of his success.

Players will also be able to claim 50 percent of their prize money if they pull out before their first match, an incentive created to allow a replacement to play instead. The seeding for the January Slam was announced on Wednesday (11th January) by the authorities that be.

It was naturally a welcome news to Australian Open director Craig Tiley.

Del Potro has not played in Melbourne for four years because of his injury troubles but heads back with his status as a Grand Slam contender restored by his memorable run to the US Open semi-finals.

Family man Roger Federer says he's living the dream as he prepares to defend his Australian Open crown once again with his four children in tow.

"I don't usually like going to draws, I just want to see the sheet". It will be held on Margret Court Arena with tennis fans encouraged to attend. "He's a friend of mine and it's great to play him", he said. As for the men's draw I am going to give Juan Martin del Potro the "dark horse" label. Halep, the top seed for the women (and who has yet to win a Grand Slam title) will open against Destanee Aiava. Bencic, who came back from left wrist surgery past year is on a 15-match winning streak and showed stunning form in the Hopman Cup last week. If they are fully fit, Djokovic and Wawrinka only add further competition and excitement to a packed field.

The Serbian former world number one had pulled out of a warm-up tournament in Abu Dhabi, raising concerns over his fitness ahead of the year's opening Grand Slam.

These will have to wait till the later stages of the tournament - Djokovic's current ranking of 14 has handed him a rough draw.

The final category is the young players to watch.

"Over time, tennis has become more physically demanding - something the men experience over five sets, the women over three". If Bellis can make it into can make it past the third round then it will be a true demonstration of her potential.

Young gun Zverev had little luck in his first Australian Open draw as a top five seed with either Wawrinka, who plays Ricardas Berankis, or Novak Djokovic potentially standing in his path in the quarter-finals.

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