14 Enero, 2018
Djokovic, seeded 14th, opens against 63rd-ranked Donald Young, and could face 39th-ranked Gael Monfils - who was himself ranked sixth a year ago - in the second round.
The 12-time Grand Slam champion seemed to have overcome the elbow injury that ended his 2017 season in July after losing in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.
The list of absentees including the likes of current Australian Open champion Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and three-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray caused tennis fans all over to let out a huge sigh of disappointment.
There is also the question of the sport's ability to police itself credibly, which will soon be back in the spotlight with the lengthy and costly Independent Review of Integrity, created to investigate potential match fixing and corruption, expected to recommend this year that the game combine its anti-doping and anti-corruption organizations into a single independent entity.
The German is seeded fourth at Melbourne Park, but has never experienced a quarter-final, or beyond, at a major.
Nadal won 23 matches at grand slams in 2017, the most since his 25 in 2010. The Swiss, who underwent knee surgery in the wake of his Wimbledon exit, pulled out of an exhibition event yesterday.
"Family was something I always wanted when I got together with Mirka, way back when in Sydney at the Olympics in 2000, and my whole life changed completely and it's the best thing that ever happened to me". I'll sleep, eat and train and not do too much.
Australian hopes will rest largely on the shoulders of 17th seed Nick Kyrgios, who won the Brisbane International on Sunday but has struggled with his temperament and openly admitted to lacking dedication in recent years. He is likely to face fifth seed Dominic Thiem as early as in the fourth round.
Raonic, ranked 22nd in Melbourne, takes on Slovakia's Lukas Lacko on Sunday in a first-round match.
"So this phase now, the last eight years have just been the best".
The five-set victory over the Spaniard defied all expectations that anyone had from the 36-year-old, who will be looking to go into the 2018 edition of the Open to defend his title as one of the favourites.