Australian Open 2018: What the players are saying

  • Australian Open 2018: What the players are saying

Australian Open 2018: What the players are saying

While the 1985-1989 generation would probably go down in history as one of the most talented and competitive of all time, boasting the likes of Nadal, Djokovic and Murray, the same things would probably not be said of players born in the next five years, unless things take a dramatic turn. Another possible challenger to the Swiss maestro is young German Alexander Zverev, but he remains unproven in majors and is in need of his breakthrough moment.

An upbeat but calm Nick Kyrgios heads into the Australian Open feeling confident about his mental game and keen to keep a level head through the season after a "roller-coaster" ride in 2017. If Federer is off his game just a little, Del Potro could pounce.

The 36-year-old also has an outside shot of becoming the oldest World No.1 in history, but Nadal would have to lose before the quarter-finals for that to eventuate.

The 9/2 about Marin Cilic to win that quarter looks a touch skinny, so perhaps the best option might be to look at the Croat as a back-to-lay at [40.0] on the Exchange. He stayed injury free until the final stages of his brilliant 2017 campaign, winning a 10th French Open title and then claiming the US Open, before familiar knee problems returned putting an end to his season at the ATP Finals in London.

The second, will Djokovic be able to do what Federer and Nadal did and make a deep run into his first comeback major, and maybe even win it?

With Serena Williams still absent, the women's draw is impossible to call.

While he's been back on the practice court for six weeks, Djokovic admits he's yet to reach full confidence in his arm just days from the start of the Australian Open.

"Those guys have been on tour for much longer than me so I think that has something to do with it", Zverev said.

The pair split the four grand slam trophies between them a year ago, with Nadal, at 31, finishing the season as the ATP rankings' oldest No.1.

"But hopefully I can improve that this year".

Over in the women's draw there will be a new name on the trophy after last year's victor Serena Williams pulled out but with the top seeds largely inexperienced there's a chance that former world number ones and previous Australian Open champions Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova may steal in. Simona Halep Romania; 2. The latter was asked on Saturday whether she agrees that the women's draw is wide open.

"The depth in women's tennis has got so strong in the last few years", she added.

Despite an intriguing matchup against Borna Coric in the third round, Nadal has a pretty straightforward route to the semis. "It doesn't exist." Stephens agrees the Australian Open field is still tough.

"I still know what I'm capable of and I believe in my own abilities to win against the best players in the world", he said. "It's up for grabs".