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Australian Open 2018: Fedal start as favourites, but don't count out Djorray or the young guns

Shashwat Jain
553   //    30 Dec 2017, 14:28 IST

2017 Australian Open - Day 14
Rafael Nadal (left), Rod Laver (centre) and Roger Federer at the 2017 Australian Open trophy presentation

With Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray back into the fray, the 2018 Australian Open promises to be a thriller. Though Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are still being considered as the favorites, the others, including Stan Wawrinka, can't be left behind.

The much anticipated event kicks off on the 15th of January in Melbourne. Lest anyone has forgotten, that is the venue where a sizzling Federer defeated Nadal in the finals last January.

Although the seniors have the advantage of experience, the youngsters would also fancy their chances of making a name for themselves. Grigor Dimitrov, Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem have had a wonderful 2017 but they haven't won any Grand Slam yet. You would think it's just a matter of time before they start to dominate in the big tournaments too, especially with the older players in the dusk of their careers.

Djokovic and Murray will return after a long, long break and they'll be fresh and rejuvenated for a good run. That said, Djokovic's withdrawal from the Abu Dhabi exhibition due to shoulder does provide cause for concern.

Nadal, of course, isn't fully ready as of now and would be missing the Brisbane International before the Australian Open. Federer, on the other hand, seems to be as fit as ever and nobody would be surprised if he wins his 20th Grand Slam title Down Under.

As for the women, it's really hard to say who holds the edge. Such has been the competitiveness in the women's game for the past year or so that any result is very hard to predict.

That said, with the power and speed that she possesses combined with all her experience, Serena Williams would fancy her chances of going all the way - despite having recently given birth to a beautiful baby girl.

The year's first Slam isn't far away and you can't help but feel the excitement surrounding the event. Every player would want to begin 2018 well, with a good showing in the year's first big tournament, as that could set the tone for the rest of the season.

Will it be a 20th Grand Slam title for Federer or will Nadal close in on Federer's record with a 17th Major? Amidst all the talk surrounding these two veterans of the game, will we see an unexpected winner? We can't wait to find out!

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