Tuesday, 26 March, 2019

Andy Murray to face Novak Djokovic in practice match before Australian Open

Nick Kyrgios- Brisbane International 2019 Nick Kyrgios’ preparation leading into the Australian Open has been far from ideal
Shannon Reynolds | 10 January, 2019, 18:57

Williams is also playing in her first Australian Open since winning it in 2017.

It was an incident that overshadowed Naomi Osaka's maiden grand slam triumph and split opinion among fans and pundits alike.

Despite being ranked outside the top 10, few would be fearless enough to count Williams out of the equation as she aims to equal Margaret Court's all-time record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles. Williams, seeded 16th this year, later gave birth to her daughter that year and skipped Melbourne while recovering from complications during birth. Yet she appears to have put the emotional turmoil experienced in NY behind her and is revelling in her status as standard bearer for the next generation of women's players.

"I think Osaka is reliable, I think she's gotten some matches in".

The Scot will not be seeded in Thursday's draw (from 07:00 GMT) for the opening Grand Slam of the year and so could face a top-ranked player in the first round.

"But there will be a side note that Serena has a lot of passion and that she has at times lost her cool on the courts, but I don't think for one minute it's going to tarnish her whole reputation".

"Osaka shines" The 21-year-old Osaka backed up her US Open win by riding a wave of fanatical home support to reach the final of the Pan-Pacific Open in Tokyo without dropping a set.

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And Evert says the prospect of a fully fit Williams could strike fear into her rivals. "I enjoy Grand Slams the most", she said.

"She has had time off, she can really get away from tennis, before maybe not as much".

"Champions are greedy in the sense they want to keep racking up the grand slams".

But she fell foul of officials with the spandex compression garment outfit criticised by the French Tennis Federation president and subsequently banned at Roland Garros.

"I noticed she seems fitter, which is a scary thought".

He retired in the quarter-finals against Marin Cilic previous year in Melbourne and suffered yet another knee injury that forced him out of the US Open semi-finals before ankle surgery in November.

Former US Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe, brother of the legendary John and who will also be part of ESPN's Australian Open coverage, echoed Evert's sentiments. Williams reached the Wimbledon and US Open finals after her return past year but lost both, leaving her one short of Australian Margaret Court's tally of major singles titles.

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