Nadal welcomes clash of old and new

Rafael Nadal said he welcomes the new generation of players while urging older players, like Roger Federer, to keep the competition levels high for them.

"These guys are doing well," he told the Australian newspaper ahead of the Australian Open. "It's great to have a new generation of fantastic players there and that's good for tennis. Tennis needs it."

"People sometimes get bored to see the same players all the time."

Nadal is is returning from a wrist problem, while Federer is making a comeback after six months out with a knee injury.

They will have to work hard at the year's first Grand Slam at Melbourne Park next week, with Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic showing form, while several youngsters are looking to make a name for themselves.

Austria's Dominic Thiem, Germany's Alex Zverev and Australia's Nick Kyrgios are among younger players who Nadal, 30, said were good for the game.

Nadal said he was still ready to compete at the top levels, despite a drought of major titles stretching back to 2014, and said his elder foes were also up to it.

"The good thing is that Roger is back on tour after probably his first important injury," Nadal said of the 35-year-old. "That's tough, but he looks great. He's played some good matches there in Perth [at the Hopman Cup], so I'm very happy for him."

Nadal did not have a great start to the year, losing in the quarter-finals of the Brisbane International to Milos Raonic, but said his best form was yet to emerge.

"I think that I had a great off-season, so I am excited about these next few months."

"You cannot say something about how Roger is, how I am, in just two weeks. In Melbourne, anything could happen, but I give myself a little bit more time, three months … let's see how I am."