Australian Open: Becker backs Federer to dominate Nadal, others

Australian Open: Becker backs Federer to dominate Nadal, others

Australian Open 2018: Champion Federer will begin the defense of his Open title next week when he faces Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene in the first round.

The 36-year-old Federer dropped a set in the opening round to qualifier Jurgen Melzer, showing signs of ring-rust after six months out of the game.

Roger Federer is the favourite to defend his Australian Open title in Melbourne.

The Swiss star has enjoyed a positive build-up period for the tournament, while Nadal has struggled with injury.

Nadal is the world No 1 heading into the first Grand Slam of 2018.

But a knee problem could hamper his game during the two-week tournament.

And Becker, who coached fellow title hopeful Novak Djokovic for three years, thinks Federer will be unstoppable on the hard courts.

“The big question is, who will overtake Rafa and Roger?” Eurosport pundit Becker said.

Becker himself won the Australian Open twice during his career, in 1991 and 1996.

He was Djokovic’s coach when the Serb won in Melbourne in 2014 and 2015.

But Djokovic is a doubt for the title because of a long-standing elbow injury.

Djokovic seeded 14th for the tournament, starts his campaign against America’s Donald Young.

Federer takes on Aljaz Bedene, while Nadal plays Victor Estrella Burgos in the first round.

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