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Nadal and Wawrinka boost for Australian Open

14 January 2018

The bottom half of the draw has some incredible match-ups with last year's runner-up Venus Williams drawing Belinda Bencic in the first round. On the top of the draw, sits Rafael Nadal in the customary No. 1 slot, but few foes loom on that page.

A few minutes later when the formalities were completed, Federer found out how hard defending his title could be after landing in the same half as six-time champion Novak Djokovic. Her public stance against same-sex marriage, which is now legal in Australia after a vote a year ago, has led to renewed calls that Margaret Court Arena should be renamed.

"They have inspired me to look deeper, to dip deeper inside myself, to understand what it takes to dethrone these guys". And let's not forget about one of the best first round matches between Denis Shapolvalov meeting Stefanos Tsitsipas.

But his toughest test could come in the quarterfinals, where either in-form No.7 seed David Goffin - the Belgian who ended the Swiss star's ATP Finals run - or his US Open vanquisher, No.12 seed Juan Martin del Potro, are drawn to end up.

Brother Mischa (32) and Albert Ramos-Vinolas (21) should not unduly trouble the 20-year-old, but six-time champion Djokovic, seeded 14th after his lengthy absence from the tour, could yet blow his portion of the draw wide open should he prove his fitness.

While Konta has been in poor form of late and doesn't appear to be 100%, she has a strong record in Melbourne and a combination of her new coach and an Australian crowd that will readopt her will guide her to the title.

Nadal, 31, heads the entry list for the Australian Open and said he will be ready to front up for the first round.

The seedings have gone largely according to the ATP world rankings, although Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori are out injured and women's champion Serena Williams opted not to play after giving birth in September.

With the first balls to be hit at this year's Australian Open in just a matter of hours, players and officials will gather on Thursday night for the official draw.

Simona Halep, who was upset in the first round previous year by American Shelby Rogers, and Caroline Wozniacki, who lost in the third round in 2017, were seeded one and two.

The Australian Open will be a barren tournament for the British men unless Kyle Edmund - now our only male representative - can stage a significant upset over US Open finalist Kevin Anderson. He is likely to face fifth seed Dominic Thiem as early as in the fourth round. "Australians are always getting great support here". "All these things all play into it but at the end of the day I've been in this position thankfully many times before".

"The drive, I still have it". "But at a technical level, when Djokovic has been at the top of his game, I have to say that I've been up against an invincible player". "I expect to continue to do so".