"The championship is open in the sense there are so many great players", added the Australian-born Briton. The Australian Open gave us the chance to play like an open practice for the crowd. But the humble Swiss star talked down any suggestion that he should be considered the favourite for this year's Australian Open, reports Xinhua news agency. The main issue for Nadal is fitness; he hasn't played a competitive match since mid-November and pulled out of a recent warm-up event in Brisbane, citing a knee injury.
The former world number one also noted that you need to give yourself a chance even if the draw is hard and also said that the last year's Australian Open was his the "tournament of the year" for him.
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).
Jelena Ostapenko rocketed up the rankings after her stunning French Open win past year.
The Australian Open's defending champion deserves the tag of favourite as he was only beaten five times in the whole of 2017.
The 2018 Australian Open kicks off tomorrow with World No.1 Rafael Nadal launching his bid to win his second Australian Open title tomorrow night.
The first Grand Slam of the year serves off in Melbourne on January 15 and the most profound questions that will be answered should be whether the young guns could overhaul the "dinosaurs" in both the men and women's draws.
As the summer heat continues to breath down on the sporting capital of Australia, the worlds tennis elite have been preparing for the opening Grand Slam of the 2018 season, the Australian Open.More news: Trump extends Iran nuclear deal, but issued a stern warning to Congress
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"It was more of a "let's see what happens" kind of tournament, maybe similar to what Novak or Stan or others are going through this year. But I feel good", Nadal told the reporters ahead of the tournament.
Federer himself came into last year's tournament off the back of a six-month injury lay-off, making his eventual triumph all the more remarkable.
World No 11 Kevin Anderson, who had one of his best seasons last year, beat world No 49 Kyle Edmund in the third round of last year's French Open.
Djokovic, a surprise second-round loser here previous year, is hoping he can get fit enough to change that in 2018.
On the men's side, it's a couple of old guys-who played nothing like old guys in 2017-who stand as the two favorites: Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
At 37, Venus Williams among the top contenders at Melbourne Park.
Wawrinka, the 2014 victor, who was out of tennis for six months, a left knee injury that went under the knife, says, getting off the blocks in the opening Grand Slam of the year, is in itself a "big victory". A Raonic-Del Potro-Djokovic/Zverev-Nadal run might be even steeper than the one he overcame past year, but Federer too is even more in his zone than he was 12 months ago. I feel OK. I feel fit. I still have a lot of work to do physically and also tennis-wise to be to my top level.
But it has rather gone wrong for the American since as she has lost every match she has played, and was thrashed by world No 100 Camila Giorgi in Sydney last week.