Australian Open was always played on grass court.
"After the injury and the tough times it's really an fantastic feeling".
World No. 5 Dominic Thiem will also be hoping to leave his mark at the Aussie Open for the first time.
The first, can Federer and Nadal replicate their magic from last year, and if either of them can win the first major of the year to keep their run going - better still, will it be another Fedal final? "So that's the good news".
He said he had met Federer several times and would like to see more of him, "but obviously his time is pretty well taken care of". Kei Nishikori also withdrew.
Despite his achievements in a long career, motivation for Nadal, who needs to reach the quarter-finals to be certain of retaining his world number one ranking, with Federer breathing down his neck, remains undiminished.
Marta Kostyuk became the first player born in 2002 to win in the main draw of a grand slam when she shocked China's 25th seed Peng Shuai in straight sets.
And he reappears at Melbourne Park in a totally different context to 2017.
This is the 52nd Grand Slam of Nadal's career but the first without his long-time coach and uncle Toni Nadal in his box. At 37, Venus is seeded No 5, coming off a loss to former No. 1 Anglique Kerber in Sydney and has a tougher opener against Belinda Bencic, who combined with Federer last week to win the Hopman Cup.
All four singles finalists were 30 or older here a year ago in what became a tournament for the ages, and three of them are back.
Djokovic had contested 51 consecutive Grand Slams from the 2005 Australian Open until he missed last year's U.S. Open during his rehabilitation.
Garbine Muguruza is the reigning Wimbledon champion, though her health has been in question.
Muguruza, who withdrew from the Sydney International before the quarterfinals with a sore right thigh after retiring during her first match at the Brisbane International because of cramping, is in the same quarter as US Open finalist Madison Keys, Australian Open 2016 champion Kerber and five-time major victor Maria Sharapova, returning to Melbourne two years after a failed doping test here led to a 15-month suspension.
Women's top seeds: 1. "I feel ready to start", Halep said. Maybesimilar to what Novak (Djokovic) or Stan (Wawrinka) or others are going through this year. "A lot of changing, I feel".
A confident Caroline Wozniacki declared Saturday she was in the form of her life as she targets a first Grand Slam title when the Australian Open begins next week.
But the Spaniard, who was beaten by Roger Federer in last year's final, got off to a flawless start and raced to victory over the 37-year-old.
Sloane Stephens and Jelena Ostapenko did it previous year.
"Of course, there are things to improve, but the things that I need to improve, the matches will give me".
The Serb hasn't played a competitive match for more than six months and it would be a tall order, to say the least, for him to turn up and win the tournament - although that was said about Federer a year ago.
"We talk about Murray and Djokovic being grinders, but I think they actually play quite aggressive".