Federer faces Bedene first up in Australian Open

Federer faces Bedene first up in Australian Open

The Melbourne crowds will throw their support behind the two grand slam titans but the younger generation of players probably wish they would just go away. While it may be pushing it a bit to describe the world number eight as an outsider for the title, her age and lack of experience at the Australian Open mean she should not be seen as a favourite for the title.

No Australian man has won the Australian Open since Mark Edmondson in 1976, and no woman since Chris O'Neil in 1978.

"If I got to play the way I did yesterday against the number five in the world".

At the US Open and World Tour Finals, last year's Australian Open champion Federer appeared tired, losing to Del Potro and Goffin in the latter stages.

If fit and firing, 2009 champion Nadal will be hard to beat but needs to bring something new to the court if he ends up facing Federer, who won all four of their matches past year.

The Serb is now languishing at a lowly 14th world ranking, having been on a six-month hiatus due to an elbow injury that required surgery. "After a few good results past year my confidence is much better now (against the top players) and I feel that I can play with them, but now I need to be more consistent to give them a good fight".

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The list of absentees including the likes of current Australian Open champion Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and three-time Grand Slam victor Andy Murray caused tennis fans all over to let out a huge sigh of disappointment. Victory in Melbourne, coupled with an early Nadal exit, could see him take it in Australia, six years after he last sat top of the tree.

Nadal's five-set defeat to Federer past 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. "The trend of 30 somethings thriving in today's tennis landscape doesn't end with Roger (Federer), Rafa (Rafael Nadal), and the Williams sisters". In recent years women's tennis has become incredibly unpredictable, with there being at least ten serious contenders for every grand slam.

"I just feel like she's playing the best tennis right now, playing the most solid tennis". Venus was dealt one of the toughest possible opening draws, facing 77th-ranked Belinda Bencic, a teen prodigy whose ranking fell after undergoing left wrist surgery a year ago.

Women's top seed Simona Halep of Romania faces Australian wildcard Destanee Aiava in the first round, with second seed Caroline Wozniacki starting out against Halep's compatriot Mihaela Buzarnescu.

Interestingly, the French rising star has yet to make it past singles round one at Melbourne Park.

In the bottom half, Wozniacki will not be unduly anxious by the first week, although Ostapenko could lurk in the quarters.

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