Watch out rivals, Serena Williams enters Australian Open leaner and quicker

Murray 'genuinely touched&apos by outpouring of support

After receiving countless messages of support Andy Murray says he feels"much more positive about his impending

"But being honest, when somebody like him, that he achieved nearly everything in his tennis career, is suffering like he's done for such a long time already, and you feel that you are not competitive for the thing that really makes you wake up every morning and go on court with the passion to practice, to improve, and with a goal, then it's so hard, no?"

But from a competitor's perspective, that's hardly the point.

"Last year he probably shocked the tennis community with how quickly he improved".

After her indefensible outburst at last year's US Open final, the American will be under intense scrutiny in Melbourne.

Asked during a recent conference call with reporters if she felt the episode had tarnished Williams' reputation, Evert pushed back, arguing that Williams' career record of dominance would ultimately overshadow any episode when she "lost her cool" on court.

Millman said he has been impressed with what he's seen from Duckworth in the lead-up to the Australian Open though, and rates the New South Welshman's chances against the 2009 champion. It is her first tournament since her runner-up finish in NY in September.

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The Romanian said she was untroubled by the back injury that curtailed her 2018 season and was mentally stronger as a result of last year's loss in the decider.

"I know how not well he was", said the Swiss.

"There's little things day to day that are also a struggle and it'd be nice to be able to do them without any pain", he said.

Serena's 2017 triumph Down Under gave her the outright Open-era record for singles majors ahead of Steffi Graf's 22, leaving only Court's tally of 24 titles - 13 of which were earned in the amateur era before 1968 - for her to chase.

"It is a tough draw to play Tomas who was a consistent top-10 player", Edmund said. "It's awesome being back on tour so soon".

Among the more surprising coaching changes in the off-season was Halep's split from long-time mentor Darren Cahill, who wants to spend more time with his family.

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"Your greatest impact on the world may be yet to come".

The Romanian has bittersweet memories from 12 months ago at Melbourne Park having reached her third grand slam final only to suffer another narrow defeat, this time to Caroline Wozniacki.

Naomi Osaka is seeking to become the first female to win back-to-back majors since Williams picked up the French Open and Wimbledon in 2015.

The Japanese youngster showed fantastic composure to stay calm when everyone else was losing their cool during the US Open final.

An already intriguing match took on an added edge after a tearful Andy Murray admitted on Friday that he didn't know how many more games he had in him. "She has a swagger about her". But that's what you expect at an Australian Open.

Long considered part of the so-called Big Four in men's tennis with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, Murray likely will be the youngest of them to retire after 20 months of trying to deal with his painful hip. But time, age and injury are taking their inevitable toll, as a free-hitting and physically imposing next crop of challengers emerges.

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