Gilbert: Amazing Federer is clear Australian Open favourite

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I was so inadequate; I was just out.

Bembry: Yes, Sloane Stephens should be concerned with recent slump.

We'd like to give you all of the top contenders' thoughts on their Australian Open chances, but it looks like some of them been having too much fun.

They're in the same half of the draw - along with No. 4 Alexander Zverev, No. 5 Dominc Thiem, No. 7 David Goffin and No. 9 Stan Wawrinka, the 2014 Australian Open victor who is also returning from injury.

Venus Williams says Serena is "here in spirit" supporting her in Australia, where she's hopeful of ending an nearly decade-long Grand Slam title drought.

After speculation regarding the appearances of a number of the bigger names in the field, Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori are two of the higher profile late withdrawals in the men's event.

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It was the first time such a play had happened for a score in postseason history . "No one wants to get run on", Flowers said. Mariota had some bad throws and plays, but he scrambled for some big first downs and made some big throws to win the game.

In the last two years at Grand Slams, whenever Serena Williams has been absent, an unknown has thrown their hats in the ring.

While some generations have obviously outperformed some others, no generation has been as disappointing as the rather forgettable generation I'm referring to: Players born between 1990 and 1994. I feel that I had a good week-and-ahalf of practices.

Kyrgios warmed up for the Australian Open which gets underway on Monday, by winning the Brisbane International. Awfully good. Federer's preparations went perfectly as he and Belinda Bencic won the Hopman Cup, an exhibition event, for Switzerland a couple of weeks ago and since he arrived in Melbourne, he has been looking smooth, suave and very relaxed.

Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza hasn't had the ideal preparation, but is determined all the same. Thiem, who pulled out of the warm-up Qatar Open ahead of his semi-final with flu, finished 2017 by making his second appearance at the ATP Finals in London.

The match-up may work in his favour with the Czech Republican carrying an 0-7 record against Australian in grand slams.

Muguruza is expecting the constant changes at the top of the women's game to continue in 2018. Is going to be the first official match of the year. "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 ahead of his opening round clash against American Donald Young.

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"Both Radek and Andre have discussed a lot before the information came across to me", Djokovic said. "Of course, I'm confident", she said.

"That's why I see things more relaxed, you know, at a later stage of my career".

Djokovic will wear a sleeve on his right arm to forestall any reoccurrence of the elbow injury that has plagued him since Wimbledon 2017.

Rafael Nadal, who apparently recovered from a knee injury of past year, is the top seed for the Australian Open men's singles competition which begins in Melbourne on Monday.

"I'll be over the moon if I can play", he said. "For now everything at the moment is going in the right direction", he said.

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