Tennis

Is Maria playing herself? Sharapova’s noisy return

Who is Alex De Minaur?0:56

Alex De Minaur could be Australia’s next great tennis hope, and he’s got quite the story to tell.

Roger Federer begins his title defence today.

PLAYING his pension card, Roger Federer is refusing to accept title favouritism as he prepares to defend his Australian Open crown and land an astonishing 20th grand slam singles crown.

“With age, I feel like I play down my chances just because I don’t think a 36-year-old should be a favourite of a tournament. It should not be the case,” Federer said.

But that’s exactly the way it is after the Swiss marvel dominated 2017 like he was 26 again.

Meanwhile, Ash Barty and Alex De Minaur headline a big Aussie contingent playing on day two of the Australian Open in Melbourne.

After an encouraging opening one for the locals — where five players, including Nick Kyrgios and an impressive Daria Gavrilova, all progressed, much will be expected from Barty and De Minaur after their impressive runs at the Sydney International last week.

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Originally published as Is Maria playing herself? Sharapova’s noisy return

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