Nadal, Federer get top seeds at Australian Open

Federer placed in dauntingly tough half of Australian Open draw

Nadal, Federer get top seeds at Australian Open

"Is the first time I am here without playing an official match in my career".

He played an exhibition match against Richard Gasquet at the Kooyong Classic in third-gear, stepping up his preparation with a specially-arranged practice match with Dominic Thiem on Margaret Court Arena on Friday.

"Obviously I've achieved certain things that I've always wanted to".

He will also be without uncle Toni by his side.

Federer will saddle up for a 19th time in the main draw at Melbourne Park, looking to frustrate "Generation Next" once again and defend the title he won previous year during a stunning comeback from knee surgery.

Djokovic had contested 51 consecutive Grand Slams from the 2005 Australian Open until he missed last year's U.S. Open during his rehabilitation. He stayed injury free until the final stages of his brilliant 2017 campaign, winning a 10th French Open title and then claiming the US Open, before familiar knee problems returned putting an end to his season at the ATP Finals in London.

Despite his achievements in a long career, motivation for Nadal, who needs to reach the quarter-finals to be certain of retaining his world number one ranking, with Federer breathing down his neck, remains undiminished.

"I mean, Roger and Rafa's year last year has shown age is just a number, especially in Roger's case", Djokovic said Saturday in his pre-tournament news conference.

"I feel like I spend less energy but I'm more efficient".

"I lost to Nadal here".

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

The 2008 champion and current world No. 47 kicks off her campaign against a player ranked one place higher, Germany's Tatjana Maria. "That was at the US Open", he said.

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

"Everyone starts from zero". I still have this afternoon and tomorrow, the last practice before the competition starts for me. Start as new season, an exciting one. "In terms of professional things, I spoke to him few days ago, speaking about how the life going, how the tennis going".

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

"I'm happy with the way that I am working with (coaches) Carlos (Moya), with Francis (Roig) and the rest of my team". If he have something to tell me, he call me and tell me.

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