Zverev, 20, has been touted as the "next big thing" for some years and is coming off five titles last season, yet he has never made it past the fourth round of a Grand Slam. "Now I know his secret!"
So maybe Nadal versus Federer in the final isn't so much of a long shot after all?
Williams said that despite the physical stresses from having a baby, she was in a far better place mentally than she'd ever been throughout her career.
But more so than the competition, it is the 36-year-old Federer's dominant play at this month's Hopman Cup, where he won all four of his singles matches and led Switzerland to a third title, that gives him the edge. She begins her Australian Open campaign against American Madison Brengle.
Danger lurks at nearly every corner, with former Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic and a resurgent Juan Martin Del Potro, the man who beat Federer for the 2009 U.S. Open title, looming as threats before the quarter-finals.
The Australian Open, the first grand slam of the 2018 season, starts Monday with everyone wondering if Roger Federer can repeat his remarkable victory 12 months ago.
Novak Djokovic has practised behind closed doors ahead of next week's Australian Open, adding to the intrigue surrounding his return from a lengthy injury layoff. Former Australian victor Stan Wawrinka, who hasn't played since Wimbledon after knee surgery, is the same section of the draw and faces Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis first up.
It was the first year since 2009 that Djokovic didn't reach at least one Grand Slam final.
Another former grand slam champion, Marin Cilic, did not have such a good day at the former venue of the Australian Open with the Croatian world No. 6 losing 6-7 (3), 6-4, 7-5 to Australian Matthew Ebden.
"There's no easy way to get to the top", Sharapova told the crowd at Margaret Court Arena before the draw.
"I had a great opponent, it was a test for me to see where I am, how the work we did pays off on court".
It has meant some alterations to the draw, but tournament director Peter Johnston said it was worthwhile.
Andy Murray, a five-time finalist in Melbourne, is a notable absentee from the draw after undergoing hip surgery to correct an issue that has sidelined him since the quarter-finals of Wimbledon. She said it didn't leave her enough time to feel confident of winning a major. "I expect to continue to do so".