"It's different circumstances. But it is exciting".
Roger Federer, the world No. 2, is the favourite to retain his Australian Open title over an injury - riddled field - Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori have already pulled out - when the first grand slam of the season starts in Melbourne on Monday. Even if it's 100 per cent healed, after six months of no competition, you never know how you're going to react.
Yet few would be surprised if the tournament ends in a repeat of last year's final with Federer up against his great Spanish rival and top seed Rafa Nadal. We definitely also profited from the fact some guys were injured, especially in the second half of the season.
"I want to kind of ride the highs, not as high as I usually do".
Simona Halep, who was upset in the first round last year by American Shelby Rogers, and Caroline Wozniacki, who lost in the third round in 2017, were seeded one and two.
Serbia's Djokovic, who is making a comeback after a six month lay-off due to a tennis elbow injury, is ranked at 14.
"I'm just glad to be back playing tennis, having an opportunity to compete yet again in the big tournaments".
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.
He missed warmup events in Abu Dhabi and Brisbane but had an exhibition match at the Kooyong Classic and another practice match with Dominic Thiem at Melbourne Park on Friday, complete with ball boys and a chair umpire. Not trying to sound cocky or anything, but I've always said that I've always been working hard physically, I'm always trying to improve the performance at the grand slams. "But I feel good".
Djokovic, who has shaken off the elbow injury that scuppered his 2017 to play in Melbourne, will begin against Donald Young.
Roger Federer was the main guest of the Australian Open draw on Thursday on the Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne.
Stephens agrees the Australian Open field is still extremely tough, even with Serena Williams, the defending champion and 23-time major winner, skipping the tournament as she continues her recovery from a complicated childbirth in September.
"There's not much more I can do".
But the 2009 champion dismissed suggestions that result gave him additional motivation this year.
"He won a couple more Grand Slams".
But McEnroe, a former top 50 singles player himself and younger brother of seven-time Grand Slam champion John, believes Federer's own fitness level at the age of 36 is entirely of his own creation.
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