Nadal and Wawrinka boost for Australian Open

World No.1 Rafael Nadal has tuned up for the Australian Open with an exhibition match win at Melbourne Park.

Djokovic and Wawrinka, though, are yet to demonstrate that they have fully recovered from the respective elbow and knee injuries that have sidelined the pair since August. He is seeking consecutive major wins for the first time since winning the French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open in 2010.

World number one and top seed Rafael Nadal starts his Australian campaign against the 83rd-ranked Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic in the top quarter of the draw.

The Australian Open is thus a chance for the younger generation to get ahead and grab the proverbial bull by the horns. He has reached at least the semi-final stage in 13 of the last 14 Australian Opens (2015 being the exception).

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His cause is aided by the absence of five-time losing finalist Andy Murray, who has undergone hip surgery, while Novak Djokovic is another man who has been plagued by injury as he looks to avenge last year's early exit.

By contrast, Djokovic is returning from injury and hopes to avoid a repeat of last year's second-round defeat to Denis Istomin - his worst result since bowing out at the first hurdle in his first appearances in 2005 and 2006.

Surprise Paris Masters winner Jack Sock may have to overcome Kevin Anderson (11) or Lucas Pouille (18), as well as Philipp Kohlschreiber (27) if he is to reach the quarter-finals.

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. "But when he's on, he's on, and he's really difficult to beat".

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"I'm good and I am here so that's good news and my idea is just to keep practising the next couple of days to be ready for the beginning of the Australian Open".

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.

Thiem squibbed a simple overhead with the score at 8-8, allowing Nadal to close out the match.

Twelve-time Grand Slam winner Djokovic beat world number five Dominic Thiem in straight sets in the Kooyong Classic this week.

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"He's a great guy - he's going through the things, whatever he needs to go through". He eventually went down to Nadal but showed enough spunk to be noticed.

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