In Melbourne It is common to set an appointment with another person under the expression "I'll meet you under the clocks" ("I'll see you under the clocks"). It refers to staying at the Flinders Street station, where the clocks indicate the waiting time for the departure of the train of each line. That is a tradition. As it is in the Australian Open that starts tomorrow the favorites are old names. Among them stands out above all the Novak Djokovic. The number 1 in the world was a tennis player consumed by the doubts a year ago, when an injury in the elbow took him from the skull and did not exceed the round of 16. Now it's different. After ending 2018 as a cyclone, he sets out to conquer his seventh title in Melbourne, which would be a record. He is now tied with Roy Emerson and Roger Federer, champion of the tournament in the last two editions. The Swiss, who knows how to dose to the maximum, usually land in excellent conditions to the first big of the season.
Nadal does not compete since September and will show in the tournament a new way to take
More uncertain is the performance that can come to offer Rafa Nadal, who has been fine-tuning in the last days after his umpteenth physical problem, a muscular discomfort that led him to withdraw from the tournament in Brisbane and delayed their preparation. He has not played in the circuit since September when he left at the US Open. In the last edition landed in Melbourne also short form and reached the quarter, where he retired in the fifth set against Cilic. "The sensations are not bad but you have to see how I respond in competition," Nadal said yesterday. The Balearic appears in Australia with a new way of taking. "We had always had the feeling that Rafa's ball was fast in the service, but when he bounced it stopped a bit. Now, with a more fluid movement, we pursue the ball bounce and do not lose all that speed, "says his coach, Carlos Moya, in statements to the ATP. The change is based on three aspects, according to Francis Roig, another member of the Nadal team. "The first, that when he starts to execute the swing, he takes his hand for a while longer down, instead of lifting it laterally. The second, that at the moment of throwing the ball into the air does not make so much flex, it holds much more the body up, well upright, instead of sitting down because it thus loses dynamism. And the third, who enters well with the right leg inside the track after falling ". The player himself thinks about his service: "I'm happy with my new gesture but you have to see how it works under pressure". The Mallorcan debut is against the Australian James Duckworth, 238 of the world.
Serena Williams will look to match the 24 big Margareth Court titles
If Nadal has had physical problems, worse has gone to Andy Murray, who already announced on Friday that he is living his last months as a tennis player because his hip injury does not subside. Its premiere will be before Roberto Bautista Agut.
Once again among the candidates to dethrone the classics stands out the German Alexander Zverev, winner of the last Masters.
Beyond the names, Melbourne presents novelties in the rules, the most striking one that will be applied if it comes with a tie to six to the fifth set in the men's draw or to the third in the women's draw. In that case, a super-tie-break will be played at the best of ten points. Until this year in the last set you had to win by two games and there was no tiebreaker. In this way Roland Garros will remain as the last great without tie-break in the fifth set. Until Wimbledon will change this year, since it will have a tiebreaker in the final set if it reaches 12-12.
Without a great dominator
In women's competition making predictions is complicated because there is no dominator since Serena Williams temporarily retired to be a mother. The American has won seven times in Melbourne. At 37, he is looking for the eighth crown that would equal the 24 Grand Slam titles of Margareth Court.
She would like to have that award for Garbiñe Muguruza, married to the irregularity.