Rafael Nadal gearing up for Australian Open

  • Rafael Nadal gearing up for Australian Open

Rafael Nadal gearing up for Australian Open

"It's the first time I am here without playing an official match in my career".

Top-ranked Nadal pulled out of the ATP Finals in November and skipped planned warmups tournaments before the Australian Open, restricting him to some exhibition matches and a practice match against Thiem.

"You can't really name one thing or one reason why I haven't gone that far yet".

"I wanted to play a couple of close competition matches".

No man has more Australian Open titles than Djokovic, who has six in all and — until last year's shocking second-round exit — had won five of the six contested from 2011 to 2016.

But the Spanish star said Saturday he feels good and his motivation remains strong.

While last year's women's singles champion Serena Williams wouldn't be returning to defend her title, last year's "Comeback Player of the Year", Roger Federer begins his title defence against Slovenian Aljaz Bedene.

"Improving my grand slam results from last year was definitely my goal for this year", he said ahead of Monday's start to the Melbourne Park major.

World number one Rafa Nadal has been handed a more favourable draw, opening against Victor Estrella Burgos and with Marin Cilic the biggest threat in his quarter of the draw.

Nadal look fit and agile while defeating Thiem and said he felt "good" and was "more or less" playing well. I lost to Nadal in five sets in the Australian Open.

Nadal's career has been disrupted by injuries since 2005, but he sees a need for a more thorough examination of the tennis schedule after the latest spate of injuries.

If he wins Australian Open, it will be his 17th grand slam and will also put him in an elite list of few players who have won all the Grand Slams at least twice in their career.

It might be argued that 36-year-old fathers of four have no business winning grand slam titles but try telling that to Roger Federer as the evergreen Swiss bids to claim a record-equalling sixth Australian Open crown in two weeks' time. I start from zero again.

Last season gave renewed hope that Dimitrov might still blossom into the Grand Slam champion he seemed set to become as an extravagantly-talented junior.

"I'm happy with the way that I am working with (coaches) Carlos (Moya), with Francis (Roig) and the rest of my team". He has enough confidence with me, or I have enough confidence with him, to talk about anything I have to talk.

Toni is now focusing on Nadal's tennis academy, perhaps getting back to what he enjoys the most - nourishing young talent.