"Ever since Radek chose to join the team, he was with me more or less the entire time, trying to spend as much quality time on the court as much as we can". "Honestly, it's a good place to be".
These issues that most of the illustrious players on tour are facing means that Roger Federer takes pre-event favourite status at [3.1] on the Exchange, with the world number two going for his sixth Australian Open title. "I feel myself more or less playing well", he said, which should strike a chord of fear in the hearts of his opponents. But they did. And then they did it again and again to carve up the grand slam season between them.
With Andy Murray injured, Novak Djokovic returning after a six-month lay-off and Rafael Nadal short of fitness, everything points towards Roger Federer this year in Melbourne. We often engage in debates about the Greatest Of All Time, but do we spend time quantifying the collective prowess of generations and bench-marking how good (or bad) an entire generation of players was?
"Whenever I get asked that question, it always comes across in really kind of an nearly negative way instead of acknowledging how many great players we have", Johanna Konta, who reached the semifinals of Wimbledon previous year, said in her pre-tournament news conference Saturday.
The top seeds in the bottom quarter of the top half are third seed Grigor Dimitrov - who could have a rematch with Rafa in the semis after the two played out one of the matches of the year at the same stage last year - and Jack Sock.
That was backed up by his recent run through to the Sydney International final that included highlight wins over former world number seven Fernando Verdasco and world no. 42 Benoit Paire. "But right now it's at the level where I can compete, and every day is getting better".
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"It's not entirely different, but at the beginning even those small tweaks and changes have made a lot of difference mentally", he said.
Rafael Nadal was a bustling teen when he was at loggerheads with Andre Agassi, a superstar well past his prime.
"I have had a great week and the final was not easy against Ash but I was able to play my game in important moments". I really hope to be ready.
He is also feeling as confident as he can given how little match play he has had in the build up to the tournament.
The second major incarnation of Venus Williams, operating from a No. 5 seed, also seeks a first Grand Slam title. The bookies fancy his chances and so does everyone else who has surveyed the draw. Having posed with a quokka and enjoyed the surf at Rottnest Island off the coast of Perth, he teamed up with Belinda Bencic as Switzerland won the Hopman Cup team exhibition event. "I want to take care of business one round at a time".
"Everyone wants to win a Grand Slam".