Wawrinka and Nadal both play down Australian Open chances

DEFENDING champion Stan Wawrinka is not banking on defending his Australian Open title, while former world No.1 Rafael Nadal has warned punters he is not expecting to claim his 15th career grand slam title in Melbourne.

While top seed Novak Djokovic, second seed and Brisbane International winner Roger Federer, and three-time runner-up Andy Murray all view the pair as serious threats, both players openly expressed reservations about winning on the eve of the Open.

Nadal is coming off a horror year in which he was plagued by back and wrist injuries, and also had an appendectomy in November after playing through much of October with appendicitis.

He lost in the first round of this month's Qatar Open to unheralded German Michael Berrer, no doubt explaining his lack of confidence.

"I would be lying if I say I feel that I am ready to win," the 28-year-old said.

That sentiment was also expressed by Federer's Swiss Davis Cup teammate Wawrinka when asked if he could repeat last year's heroics when he beat an injured Nadal in the final at Melbourne Park to claim his first grand slam title.

"I am not focused on that. I'm not thinking myself. I'm not putting my goal to win a grand slam. I know I can do it, that's not the question," the world No.4 said.

"But it's a long way for that. For me most important is to be ready for the first match."

Warwinka plays Turkey's Marsel Ilhan tomorrow while Nadal takes on dangerous Russian Mikhail Youzhny this afternoon.



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