Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer earn top two seeds for Australian Open

Australian Open 2018 draw

The former World No. 1, who admittedly is still not at 100% fitness, played his first match after the break on Wednesday at the high-profile exhibition event, the Kooyong Classic. Ideally I would have had another tournament before the start of the Open, but it was not meant to be.

In the 2017 Australian Open, Djokovic lost in the second round to Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan.

By Richard MartinNadal begins new era without mentor Toni in Australia as Carlos Moya takes charge in his team. "Hopefully in three or four days I will be there", he said on Thursday.

“There was a doubt, especially after I pulled out of the first week of the year, ” he admitted.

Twelve months on from his unforgettable surge to a fifth Open crown aged 35 and in his first official tournament back after six months out of the game, Federer admits he can still barely believe what he pulled off.

Their replacement - a "lucky loser" from the qualifying tournament - will get the other 50 percent of the first-round prize money.

Djokovic looked in good form and full of optimism as he played the first competitive match since his withdrawal from the Wimbledon quarterfinal against Tomas Berdych due to injury.

Meanwhile, 2017 Australian Open champion Serena Williams opted out of the competition, saying that her preparations had fallen just short of what she needed to be competitive after giving birth in September.

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So maybe Nadal versus Federer in the final isn't so much of a long shot after all?

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 U.S. 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.

Zverev, 20, won five tournaments past year, including Masters 1000 events in Rome and Montreal, to announce himself as a force to be reckoned with. "You always have to beat the top players in order to get to the top".

Last year's British quarter-finalist Johanna Konta is in the same quarter as Halep and faces American Madison Brengle first up.

Grand slam success is seen as a matter of when, not if, for Zverev but the ageless Federer stands ready to thwart another youth-led insurrection.

Like many players, injuries plagued Kyrgios' 2017, but in front of a willing home crowd at Melbourne Park, the right-hander will be desperate to put on a dazzling display.

Now ranked No47, she could face the 14th seed Anastasija Sevastova in the second round, Angelique Kerber - the 2016 champion - in the third round and, potentially, Garbine Muguruza, the Wimbledon champion, in the fourth round.

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