Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Australian Open: Rafael Nadal embarks on new journey without Uncle Toni

Australian Open: Rafael Nadal embarks on new journey without Uncle Toni

Good one, but at the same time long, without playing a lot of tournaments but playing a lot of matches, " Nadal said.

Djokovic made a winning return on Wednesday after six months out with an elbow injury, declaring he felt "great" after beating World No 5 Dominic Thiem 6-1, 6-4 at the Kooyong Classic.

"I really hope to be ready".

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

With no Andy Murray - the Scot recently underwent hip surgery - things look much easier, on paper at least, for Nadal, who lost to Federer in last year's final.

"Until it's done, I don't want to have any (sixth) sense, to be honest", the Bulgarian told reporters in Melbourne on Saturday.

The world No 1 came agonisingly close to winning a second title in Melbourne past year, losing in five thrilling sets to Roger Federer in the final.

"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.

Nadal, who is gunning for a 17th major title but only his second Australian Open crown, was hampered by a knee injury at the tail-end of the 2017 season.

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.

"I'm happy with the new service motion", he said.

"I feel that I had a good week and a half of practice".

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer after Federer's victory in the 2017 Australian Open men's singles final.

Djokovic said he had been convinced by doctors that he would not be doing the injury any more damage by playing in Melbourne.

Britain's sole representative Kyle Edmund will face big-serving US Open runner-up Kevin Anderson in the first round. "I start from zero again", he said.

However, 16-time Grand Slam Champion is positive ahead of the Australian Open and is rearing to go and is motivated ahead of the tournament.

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 hope to be healthy and competitive, and most important thing, I hope to enjoy tennis one more year".

Toni Nadal is now coaching at the Rafael Nadal Academy, with his nephew under the tutelage of Carlos Moya.

"I can't thank him enough for everything". If he have something to tell me, he call me and tell me.

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