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Nadal begins new era without mentor Toni Nadal in Australia

13 January 2018

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

Former world number one Moya will lead the Mallorcan's team, after spending last season with Rafael and Toni preparing for the latter's retirement, having helped Nadal roar back to life after a barren three-year spell without a grand slam trophy.

Rafael Nadal showed that talk of his demise had been exaggerated by winning the French and U.S. Open titles a year ago although he faces a battle to repeat those feats without his lifelong coach and uncle Toni while also fighting familiar injury troubles.

Novak Djokovic knows he will be stepping into the unknown at the Australian Open but thinks he can go far on his grand-slam comeback if he avoids another injury setback.

"He won a couple Grand Slams. I feel myself more or less playing well".

Djokovic admits his right elbow "hasn't 100 per cent healed" but he's made a judgment call to play at his favourite major in any case.

The Spaniard will be determined to go one better in Australia this year, but there are more concerns over his fitness after he pulled out of his scheduled opening two tournaments of 2018 in Abu Dhabi and Brisbane, although he did take part in the Tie Break Tens event and then beat Dominic Thiem in a surprise exhibition match ahead of his first-round clash against 37-year-old Dominican Victor Estrella Burgos.

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We had very good news yesterday morning. "If it's me in charge or somebody else, you can only do what is best for the club". He had a swollen knee and a recurrence of what he had two or three weeks ago - that's why he wasn't involved on Wednesday'.

"Both Radek and Andre ... they spent a lot of hours analysing my serve".

Danger lurks at nearly every corner, with former Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic and a resurgent Juan Martin Del Potro, the man who beat Federer for the 2009 U.S. Open title, looming as threats before the quarter-finals.

The six time Australian Open victor enlisted the help of tennis great Andre Agassi and power hitter Andy Roddick, to find a way to help release the "load from the elbow".

Even with Murray and Novak Djokovic out of the frame for much of 2017 due to injury, "Gen Next" once again failed to make inroads at the four tournaments that really count. "But I feel good", he told a news conference on Saturday.

"I've showed on multiple occasions over the year that I can play and beat the best guys in the world", Zverev said.

Nadal's career has been disrupted by injuries since 2005, but he sees a need for a more thorough examination of the tennis schedule after the latest spate of injuries. "I don't want to say "new serve", but new service motion".

Nadal begins new era without mentor Toni Nadal in Australia