Federer will saddle up for a 19th time in the main draw at Melbourne Park, looking to frustrate "Generation Next" once again and defend the title he won previous year during a stunning comeback from knee surgery.
The Serbian former World No 1 had pulled out of a warm-up tournament in Abu Dhabi, raising concerns over his fitness ahead of the year's opening Grand Slam. I start from zero again.
Despite his achievements in a long career, motivation for Nadal, who needs to reach the quarter-finals to be certain of retaining his world number one ranking, with Federer breathing down his neck, remains undiminished.
Federer, seeded second, arrives for a first round match against mid-ranked Slovenian Aljaz Bedene after cruising through an undefeated run at the Hopman Cup. It's a new situation for me.
"I know that if I get myself to the desired level of performance - mental and physical - that I can actually have a good chance to go far in the tournament".
"I played great players in the past year".
After claiming three titles in an encouraging 2016, last season had its moments, and he showed impressive form during the "Sunshine Swing" in North America, beating Novak Djokovic twice and pushing Roger Federer to the wall in a classic final at the Masters 1000 tournament in Miami. "I've done really everything in my power, with a team of people around me, to enable me to be right here and to compete in Australian Open".
The only place he is yet to achieve the double is Australia. "For me, the Australian Open always, if you are not enough motivated, 100 per cent motivated to play this tournament, probably you don't love this sport", Nadal said.
"Just generally getting better, just generally getting fitter, is something which young players have to do and which I'm trying to do as well".
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.
Toni Nadal is now coaching at the Rafael Nadal Academy, with his nephew under the tutelage of Carlos Moya.
"In terms of professional things, I spoke to him few days ago, speaking about how the life is going, how the tennis is going".
"If I have something to ask, I ask him". If he has something to tell me, he calls me and tells me.
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