Returning Novak Djokovic still managing elbow injury

Novak Djokovic

Returning Novak Djokovic still managing elbow injury

Former world number one Novak Djokovic is in Melbourne but he admits his elbow is not yet 100 percent as the Serb prepares to return from six months out at the Australian Open.

However, 16-time Grand Slam Champion is positive ahead of the Australian Open and is rearing to go and is motivated ahead of the tournament.

Yet he is unfazed and raring to go as seeks to go one better than last year when he lost an epic Melbourne Park final to Roger Federer.

While Melbourne Park maestro Djokovic will bid for a record seventh Australian Open title, those fans hoping for a shake-up of the establishment may look to 20-year-old Alexander Zverev after his stellar 2017.

Top seed Rafael Nadal starts the Australian Open next week for the first time in his career without playing a warm-up tournament, and no uncle Toni by his side.

"He won a couple more Grand Slams".

He said it got to the point where the pain on his serve was becoming unbearable, with a sustained period of rest the only cure. Battling illness, the Argentinian came back from the dead against Dominic Thiem before shocking Roger Federer and went on to finish the season very strongly.

"He participates as much as he wants to participate". Is going to be the first official match of the year.

"I think improving the grand slam performances is one thing (he needs)", he said.

"I'm still not 100 per cent. I'm moving towards 100 per cent. Hopefully in three or four days I will be there", he said on Thursday.

Zverev emerged from the pack in 2017 with his five titles, including Masters 1000 victories at Rome and Montreal.

All-time great Serena Williams will be absent after giving birth to her first child in September, with two-time champion Victoria Azarenka unable to attend due to a child custody battle. He could meet Nick Kyrgios in a fourth-round blockbuster, which would be a rematch of their Brisbane semi-final last week, won by the gifted but combustible Aussie.

Djokovic has been sidelined with an elbow injury that had been progressively getting worse over the past few years.

The ninth seed said: "The fact that I'm here and I'm going to play the first one, it's a big victory".

Sharapova said after a long time out she had to be patient coming back to the tour, but was still confident of returning to the top ranking and winning major tournaments.

Toni Nadal is now coaching at the Rafael Nadal Academy, with his nephew under the tutelage of Carlos Moya. "Of course, I'm pretty happy and excited with what I have achieved".

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