Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer on opposite sides of Australian Open draw

Lynette Rowe
January 10, 2019

The Serb had a magnificent 2018, making an astonishing climb back from outside the world's top 20 in June, winning Wimbledon and the US Open on the way to reclaiming the No 1 ranking in November.

Six-time Melbourne Park champion Federer, seeded No.3 for his quest for a hat-trick of Australian Open crowns and a record seventh AO titles in all, opens his 2019 campaign against world No. 99 Denis Istomin, while fellow six-time Melbourne victor and men's top seed Novak Djokovic plays a qualifier in the first round. But being so close, I'll give it a go. He is in the same half of the draw as Rafael Nadal, who has drawn Australian James Duckworth.

"The moment you find out the draw, that's when you shift your focus to the first round and only the first round - not going for your seventh (title) or anything like that", said Federer, who was heading to the practice courts immediately after attending the tournament draw.

Andy Murray will make his return to the Australian Open with a tough first-round match against Roberto Bautista Agut.

He was bundled out of the Brisbane International warm-up last week in round two by Russia's Daniil Medvedev and headed straight to Melbourne to fit in some much-needed practice.

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World number one Djokovic, who produced a strong comeback previous year, was the top seed of men's singles.

Williams will face Tatjana Maria in the first round, and could meet either Genie Bouchard or Peng Shaui in the second. Halep has a tough opening encounter against Kaia Kanepi and a possible third rounder against Venus Williams. "I've had a great off-season and I feel very well prepared".

The Swiss six-time Australian champion, who beat Marin Cilic in last year's final, could meet the Croat again in the quarter-finals, should he come through a potentially tricky fourth-round tie against Greek prospect Stefanos Tsitsipas.

It will be the first time for Wang to head into a Grand Slam as a seeded player. "I'm just enjoying every minute of it".

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