Focus On Nadal, As Aussie Open Serves Off

The 2014 Grand Slam circuit kicks off with the Australian Open on Monday, 13 January. The Big 4 of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer have accounted for 34 of the past 35 Grand Slam tournaments since Roland Garros in 2005, when Nadal won his first of 13 Grand Slam titles.
The only exception came at the 2009 US Open where Juan Martin del Potro won the title. The past eight titles in Melbourne have been won by three players: Djokovic (four times), Federer (three, four overall) and Nadal. They are the former Aussie Open winners in the draw.
Meanwhile, World Number 1 Rafael Nadal returns to Melbourne for the first time in two years when he lost to Djokovic in the longest Grand Slam final in history, a five hour, 53 minutes marathon that went 7-5 in the fifth set.
The 27-year-old Spaniard is making his ninth appearance at the tournament (35-7 record), capturing the title in 2009 (d. Federer in five sets). This is the third time he’s come in as the Number 1 seed (’09, ’11-QF). He has advanced to the quarter-finals or better in his last six visits.
Last season Nadal finished Number 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings for the third time (2008, ’10, ’13), winning 10 titles and compiling a 75-7 match record. Nadal is the only player to win a Grand Slam title for nine straight years. At the start of this year’s tournament, Nadal will be holding the Number 1 ranking for the 117th week in his career, sixth-most in the history of the Emirates ATP Rankings (since 1973).
Roger Federer is the all-time leader with 17 Grand Slam titles leader and he’s won at least one title in nine of the past 11 years. Nadal is at Number 3 on the list:

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