Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic seemed to be, along with Roger Federer, the big favorites at 2018 Australian Open. Nadal, in fact, looked like he would reach the final easily, before being forced to surrender in the semi-final against Marin Cilic with a hip injury.
If everything goes as planned, his return to competition is scheduled to be in Acapulco which will start on February 26th, where he has to defend 300 points. Federer, who is only 155 points behind Nadal in the ATP ranking, is playing in Rotterdam where he has taken a wild card. If Federer reaches the semi-finals in Rotterdam, then he would overtake Nadal as the world no. 1.
Speaking of the Spaniard's injury, Nadal, in a post on Facebook, assured, "The injury is not so serious, for now, my schedule does not change. I will play Acapulco, Indian Wells and Miami." If the Mallorcan has indeed, recovered well, from his injury, he will be ready again for the first two Masters 1000s of the year in Indian Wells and Miami. Then he will be again the man to beat in the clay swing.
As for Djokovic, the situation is more complex. The defeat against Hyeon Chung, in the fourth round of Melbourne, prompted him to seek treatment, a medical intervention, as he called it for his elbow. Meanwhile, his modified service action which he premiered at the Australian Open surprised everyone. Serena Williams' coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, was almost shocked by it and insisted that the less extensive and faster preparation put more stress on his injured elbow.
Between the two, injuries aside, Nadal is the one who seems to be in a better form. But only time will tell if Djokovic gets his momentum back.
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