Federer has sights set on grand slam

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"No one ever wants to let themselves down".

Bembry: Yes, Sloane Stephens should be concerned with recent slump.

The Swiss marvel, chasing a sixth Australian Open crown, could also face big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic in the fourth round in the bottom half of the men's draw.

Meanwhile, if Kyrgios falls early - which he is perfectly capable of - and Nadal remains fit, it's hard to see the World No 1 not making the Australian Open final, where he would fancy himself over anyone.

Venus Williams says Serena is "here in spirit" supporting her in Australia, where she's hopeful of ending an nearly decade-long Grand Slam title drought.

There may be no Andy Murray, but the men's tournament will have no shortage of returning stars who will all be aiming to start 2018 by claiming the Australian Open title. "It feels very good to win my first title in my first tournament this year".

Serena Williams, who was pregnant when she beat Venus here previous year to claim her 23rd major title, gave birth to her first child - Alexis Olympia - in September.

"That's what happened for me a year ago". Kyrgios, ranked No. 17, won that event in Brisbane and told reporters, "Right now it's all about recovering and feeling the ball for the Oz Open, because obviously I'm playing well under pressure and in high-pressure situations". "But, again, I just don't feel like I want to do anything different or change things up because that's what I've been doing pretty much all my life", he added.

There were questions as recently as last weekend about whether mentor Andre Agassi would make the trip Down Under to join Novak Djokovic as he returned to action at the Australian Open.

Federer has sights set on grand slam
Federer has sights set on grand slam

He won all his four singles matches as he and Belinda Bencic helped Switzerland lift the Hopman Cup in Perth.

Romanian Simona Halep is seeded first and Wimbledon champion Garbiñe Muguruza is seeded third, while Venus Williams is seeded fifth.

"I think a year ago there were periods where I was really good and really bad", he said ahead of his Australian Open first-round clash with Rogerio Dutra Silva. "Of course, I'm confident", she said. "The correction and improvements to the service are allowing me to be more efficient and spend less energy", he said.

Djokovic, a surprise second-round loser here past year, is hoping he can get fit enough to change that in 2018.

In Thursday's draw, 36-year-old Federer, bidding for a record 20th Grand Slam title, has a first round encounter with the 51st-ranked Bedene.

"I'll be over the moon if I can play", he said.

The Serbian could win the match if his arm injury, which has kept him off the court since Wimbledon, doesn't give him problems.

"If he wins the title tonight he goes to 80th in the world which is right up there with some of the best players in the world".

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