Players could forfeit their prize money if they retire from first-round singles matches at the Australian Open, under new rules aimed at limiting the early injury withdrawals which have long caused controversy at Grand Slams.
An unlikely victor at Melbourne Park in 2017 before going on to capture Wimbledon, the evergreen 36-year-old - who enjoyed a renaissance last season having been struck down by injuries in 2016 - is trusting his tried and tested preparation, having featured at the Hopman Cup in Perth just like he did last year.
He said: "It was an awesome final, an incredible moment for me in my life and it's great to be back here".
"I'm just excited going back to Melbourne where I had my fairytale run previous year". Federer is the defending champion and a five-time Aussie Open victor. "For now everything at the moment is going in the right direction", the Serbian star said on Thursday. Yesterday (Tuesday), I felt better and wanted to play.
"I don't want to feel any kind of continuation of 2017 because it really wasn't a good year for me".
Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep have been named top seeds for the first slam of the season - Australian Open, which will begin from January 15 at the Melbourne Park.
Nadal hasn't played competitive tennis since withdrawing from the season-ending ATP World Tour finals due to a knee injury.
He still traveled to Melbourne hoping to be fit to play in the Australian Open, where he's won six of his 12 career Grand Slam titles. Kyrgios is 17th seed and coming off a Brisbane International victory, while Barty is seeded at 18, having come from world No.271 at the start of past year.
Federer, the champion, is listed at $2.75 AUD to lift the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup for the sixth time, according to AustralianGambling, while the man who pushed him to five sets in the 2017 decider, Nadal, is set at $5.50. The Spanish ace won both the French Open and the US Open to take his Grand Slam tally to 16, notably just three titles short of Federer. "Actually we didn't have a chance to support each other today because we were playing nearly at the same time but it's always good to have a close friend from your country with you, to be with you, traveling with you, sharing everything", said the 27-year-old Safwat.
"This whole tennis thing is kind of getting to me", said Aiava, who is ranked world No.193.
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