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Australian Open 2018: Federer favourite? Sharapova to succeed Serena?

Friday - 12/01/2018 08:05
The dawning of a new tennis season has in past years triggered lots of confident predictions - whether it be the continued domination of Serena Williams or, in most seasons, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

Last year's course of events, though, should give even the most brazen of futurologists food for thought.

Jelena Ostapenko and Sloane Stephens won maiden Grand Slam titles, while Federer and Nadal - for once less fancied, having both spent a lot of time away from the tour in 2016 - improbably split the four major titles down the middle.

The Roger & Rafa show?

Roger Federer & Rafa Nadal
Federer and Nadal have won 35 Grand Slams between them - the Swiss 19 and the Spaniard 16

At the start of 2018, Federer and Nadal appear best placed to reap more rewards.

Just like 12 months ago, Federer opted to watch his new year fireworks in Western Australia. Having posed with a quokka and enjoyed the surf at Rottnest Island off the coast of Perth, he teamed up with Belinda Bencic as Switzerland won the Hopman Cup team exhibition event. Federer won all four of his singles, and it appeared an idyllic way to ease into the new season.

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