Sport Australian Open could see early Roger Federer - Rafael Nadal blockbuster

13:50  12 january  2017
13:50  12 january  2017 Source:   Sporting News

Rain no drama for reigning champ Milos Raonic

  Rain no drama for reigning champ Milos Raonic Canadian tennis star and defending Brisbane International champion Milos Raonic reckons cooler conditions will make for better play at this year's tournament.World No.3 Raonic defeated Roger Federer in last year's final and will return to Pat Rafter Arena to face either American Sam Querrey or Argentine Diego Schwartzman after his first-round bye.

The returning Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are adding even more than usual to the Australian Open.

The duo's injuries in 2016 have seen them slip down the rankings, Nadal to ninth and Federer eight places below him.

Expectations are, for the most part, low.

With Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray picking up where they left off – winning through to a final, this time in Doha – the world's top two will fancy their chances of meeting in yet another decider at Melbourne Park.

Federer's incredible act of sportsmanship

  Federer's incredible act of sportsmanship Swiss tennis ace Roger Federer displayed an incredible act of sportsmanship during his loss to German wonderkid Alexander Zverev at the Hopman Cup.The Swiss tennis ace was playing Alexander Zverev at the Hopman Cup when the German wonderkid sent down a booming serve that was called out in a tightly fought first set.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal © Getty Images Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal But their paths, and those of Federer and Nadal, shape as being far different.

There is every chance the Swiss maestro and Spanish star – 31 grand slams between them – could meet in the third round.

The round of 32 – Federer v Nadal, the pair whose epic battles have been reserved for eight major finals and three semis and never earlier at grand slams.

Of the past five years, the ninth and 17th seeds have been due to meet in the third round three times – 2012, 2014 and 2016.

Federer-Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Nadal-Richard Gasquet would still be decent battles, but are less appealing.

However, just the presence of Federer and Nadal in their unfamiliar places in the draw is sure to provide some life to the first week.

Laver urges Federer to play three more years

  Laver urges Federer to play three more years Swiss great Roger Federer should continue playing for another three years, according to Rod Laver.Federer said late last year he wanted to play at least two more years, with speculation over his future having increased after a knee injury in 2016.

A knee injury saw Federer play just 28 matches last year, but he looked in decent form at the Hopman Cup.

He had wins over Gasquet and Dan Evans, while losing a battle against talented German Alexander Zverev.

Nadal, meanwhile, reached the quarter-finals at the Brisbane International, with easy wins against Alexandr Dolgopolov and Mischa Zverev.

But Milos Raonic claimed a rare win over Nadal, who battled a wrist injury last year.

Zverev and Raonic shape as just two potential threats to Djokovic and Murray, along with the likes of Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori.

The depth of the field highlights the challenge awaiting Federer and Nadal, with their draws set to provide a greater – and more entertaining – test.

Tennis-Vintage Federer hammers Berdych to reach fourth round .
A rampaging Roger Federer delivered a stunning reminder of his class at the Australian Open on Friday with a crushing 6-2 6-4 6-4 win over Tomas Berdych to storm into the fourth round. Playing only his third tour match since coming back from a knee injury, Federer was expected to be tested by the hard-hitting Czech but he sent the 10th seed packing after a 90-minute masterclass at a floodlit Rod Laver Arena.The 35-year-old Swiss, seeded 17th, had shown rust in his earlier matches but was in spell-binding touch with 40 winners, wrapping up the match with an imperious crosscourt backhand.

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