Rafa to ramp up Aus Open prep at Kooyong

Jose Verdugo
Enero 13, 2018

And his performance gave him plenty of reasons to be happy, with the six-time Australian Open champion making a statement with a 6-1 6-4 win over world No.5 Dominic Thiem.

His 2017 comeback could be inspiration for the likes of Djokovic, who has won the Australian title a record six times but has been sidelined since Wimbledon with a right elbow injury.

Three-time Grand Slam champion Stanislas Wawrinka, seeded ninth in Melbourne, will take on unseeded Richard Berankis in the first round.

Though he lost in straight sets, the Spaniard said he would keep working hard until the start of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Monday.

"I can't stop laughing outside and inside".

"I had a great opponent, it was a test for me to see where I am, how the work we did pays off on court".

The Serbian former world number one 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 just have to pace myself all the way up to the tournament in Melbourne, and I'll be ready", he said after his Hopman Cup final victory with Switzerland teammate Belinda Bencic. "It's a great start". The fifth set (of the final) was maybe the best set I ever played.

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Lying in wait on his half of the draw are potential match ups against fellow Swiss, and 2014 victor Stan Wawrinka, Dominic Thiem, Gael Monfils, Juan Martin del Potro, and six-time champ Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic will play two matches at the Kooyong Classic exhibition event as he recovers from the elbow injury that has kept him out of action since July.

Five-time champion Federer, meanwhile, will begin his title defence against the 51st ranked Aljaz Bedene.

Aiava said she'd been in good form physically but, mentally, wasn't where she needed to be.

Djokovic had a contrasting 2017, starting at No. 2 but losing in a second-round upset at the Australian Open and not playing again after Wimbledon.

Australian hopes will rest largely on the shoulders of 17th seed Nick Kyrgios, who won the Brisbane International on Sunday but has struggled with his temperament and openly admitted to lacking dedication in recent years.

He told reporters at Kooyong: "I don't want to be overconfident".

"With Roger, I always felt that he was so gifted and able to do so many things so comfortably that as long as he stayed healthy and driven and enjoyed what he was doing, there was no reason he couldn't claw his way back", adds Annacone.

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