Wawrinka, Nadal set for Australia Open

He is, however, in Melbourne and gearing up for play.

"I'm improving. It's been a long time now, six months, so it's tough to be at that level".

The 12-time Grand Slam champion seemed to have overcome the elbow injury that ended his 2017 season in July after losing in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

He nevertheless looked relaxed and quietly confident at the draw ceremony, as he reflected on his remarkable career.

Projected quarterfinals for the men's draw: Rafael Nadal vs. Marin Cilic, Grigor Dimitrov vs. Jack Sock, Dominic Thiem vs. Alexander Zverev, David Goffin vs. Roger Federer.

Federer's defeat of Nadal last year was his 18th major triumph of a glittering career. The Dane will also look to improve upon her record of semi finals in 2011 and win her first ever Grand Slam title. Martina Navratilova, who, like Court, is a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, is one of the more prominent figures who have called for a change.

Murray, 30, has reached the final of the Australian Open five times, but was beaten on four occasions by Novac Jokovic and once by Roger Federer.

In the women's side, Maria Sharapova returns to the scene of the Slam that led to her failed drug test two years ago. His opponents in finals were on average ranked 5.75. The top 104 in the world are given direct entry, while eight wildcards are handed out.

"This is a guy who is so relaxed..." His possible path could see him face Zverev in the fourth round, Stan Wawrinka, Thiem or Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarters, before a mouth-watering prospect that is a semi-final against Federer.

"Ideally I would have had another tournament before the start of the Open, but it was not meant to be".

But Djokovic didn't just elevate his own game. Negative signs continued when he decided to opt out of his first warm-up to the Australian Open, in Doha. Considering the current environment in the men's tour, the Swiss No. 1 looks as the main favorite at the moment.

The bottom half of the draw has some incredible match-ups with last year's runner-up Venus Williams drawing Belinda Bencic in the first round. Additional watch-ability, for one.

Nadal opens against Victor Estrella-Burgos, of the Dominican Republic. Young has been an afterthought the last couple of years, but he is a talented player capable of putting up a fight. But it seems more likely that the winner will come out of the Top 10, seven of whom have yet to win a major singles title: Simona Halep, Caroline Wozniacki, Elina Svitolina, Karolina Pliskova, Caroline Garcia, Johanna Konta and CoCo Vandeweghe. If I got to play the way I did yesterday against the number five in the world.

"When you play a match it's different to practice".

  • Ricardo Clara