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Service ace: Djokovic back with rebuilt serve at Aussie Open

Service ace: Djokovic back with rebuilt serve at Aussie Open

French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko has been given the honour of starting Australian Open proceedings on Rod Laver Arena.

"Is the first time I am here without playing an official match in my career". I really hope to be ready.

Nadal returns to Melbourne Park, where he lost a thrilling five-set final to long-time rival Roger Federer past year, hoping to continue his progress under new coach Carlos Moya.

"The correction and improvements to the serve are allowing me to be more efficient and spend less energy", he said. "But I feel good".

Two years before they were chanting his name in adulation when he downed the Italian to reach the quarter-finals at the opening grand slam of the season.

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.

"I've been kind of doing my practice, getting out of here and just relaxing".

"After long, very thorough consultations with my team and doctors, we have made the decision that it is fine and adequate to play", he added.

"We did it. It was a good practice, good feelings for both of us I think".

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Not only can he clinch a 17th Grand Slam in Melbourne, but he also has the opportunity to join Roy Emerson and Rod Laver as only the third man in the Open era to win each of the four Grand Slams twice.

Australia's Nick Kyrgios is the sole men's seed but, unfortunately, misses out on a coveted top-16 ranking by one place.

"For me, the Australian Open always, if you are not 100 percent motivated to play this tournament, you probably you don't love this sport", he said.

"Everyone starts from zero". Start as new season, an exciting one. "I hope to be healthy and competitive, and most important thing, I hope to enjoy tennis one more year".

Andy Murray has had to extend his six-month absence by having hip surgery, while Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka have not played competitively since Wimbledon in July although the pair, unlike the Briton, will be at Melbourne Park.

He can take some credit for the vast improvement in Nadal's second serve, which helped the Spaniard win a 10th Roland Garros title without dropping a set and saw him blow away Kevin Anderson to lift the final major of the year in NY.

"If I have something to ask, I ask him".

"Throughout the tournament, I don't know how it's going to behave".