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Rafael Nadal loses to Richard Gasquet at Kooyong Classic

Rafael Nadal loses to Richard Gasquet at Kooyong Classic”

The tennis community and sporting world yearns for another instalment in the Federer-Nadal rivalry but while form is temporary and class is permanent, a lack of preparation may rob the Australian public of another unforgettable event.

Twelve months on from his unforgettable surge to a fifth Open crown aged 35 and in his first official tournament back after six months out of the game, Federer admits he can still barely believe what he pulled off.

Federer says his three-year-old sons Leo and Lenny "seem very interested" in tennis and that his eight-year-old daughters Myla Rose and Charlene Riva, also identical twins, think his friends in the locker-room like countryman Stan Wawrinka are all part of the family.

Bouchard, who has fallen on tough times in recent years and comes into Melbourne ranked 81st, faces France's Oceane Dodin in the first round.

"It was an awesome final for me and an incredible moment in my life", Federer reflected back on his 2017 Aussie Open triumph.

"The first thing is to play a match again".

So maybe Nadal versus Federer in the final isn't so much of a long shot after all?

Australian bad boy Bernard Tomic was fined a third of his £35,000 ($47,500) prize money for unsportsmanlike conduct at Wimbledon, after saying he felt "bored" and "couldn't care less" following a straight-sets defeat on day one.

No 14 seed Novak Djokovic was handed a testing Australian Open draw on Thursday, with Roger Federer in his half.

The seedings have gone largely according to the ATP world rankings, although Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori are out injured and women's champion Serena Williams opted not to play after giving birth in September.

Venus Williams, who last won a Slam in 2008, is seeded five and has a first-round encounter with Swiss Belinda Bencic.

Top-ranked Simona Halep opens against Australian wild card Destanee Aiava, has a potential second-round match against 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., and is in the same half as Garbine Muguruza, the Wimbledon champion.

Third-seeded Muguruza is in a hard quarter containing former Australian Open champions Maria Sharapova and Angelique Kerber, and U.S. Open finalist Madison Keys.

Germany's Zverev won their only match so far, comfortably defeating Djokovic in straight sets in the Rome Masters final a year ago.

"There's no easy way to get to the top", Sharapova told the crowd at Margaret Court Arena before the draw.

"I increased my serve by several kilometers per hour and I think I did better overall with my second than first, and I can say I won some points nearly for free as a result", Nadal said in a recent interview with Spanish daily AS. "I expect to continue to do so".



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