Title favorites face tricky early schedule at Australian Open

Share

Djokovic heads long-time rival Rafael Nadal and defending champion Roger Federer, with young-gun Alexander Zverev seeded four as he targets a maiden Grand Slam title.

Federer has won the title the last two years and has an extra carrot having gone into the season on 99 career singles titles.

Kyle Edmund, back at the scene of his semi-final appearance 12 months ago, was also given a hard opener against former top-10 stalwart Tomas Berdych, who is unseeded following injury.

World number one Novak Djokovic exposed Andy Murray's frailties in a practice match ahead of the Australian Open on Thursday (Jan 10), with the Scot calling it a day while losing 6-1, 4-1.

"If I had a chance to do it as well I'd be happy to try and go there as well".

A highlight first-round clash will see Australia's unseeded Nick Kyrgios up against Canada's big-serving 16th seed Milos Raonic, with the victor facing either Stan Wawrinka or Ernests Gulbis.

Federer's first-round test comes in the shape of Istomin, an Uzbek whom Federer has defeated in each of their six meetings, and they are in the same quarter of the draw as Andy Murray, who is unseeded and meets Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut first up. "If I made 100 at the Australian I'd take it, I'd gladly accept it - and I'll give it all I have".

Actions across globe planned in solidarity with Wet'suwet'en clans
New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen, who represents the area, said the protest he witnessed on Monday was "determined" but "peaceful". Madonna Saunderson would not say how many RCMP officers were involved in the operation.

Men's top seed Djokovic, who was defending his title when he lost to Istomin, will first meet a qualifier in his bid for a record seventh Melbourne title and third Grand Slam crown in succession following wins at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

Konta is in a loaded top quarter of the draw that also includes world number one Simona Halep - who faces a rematch with her US Open conqueror Kaia Kanepi - Serena and Venus Williams, Garbine Mugurza and Karolina Pliskova.

"To finally get that (title) here was so special, it's the happy slam".

"I can't believe it's been a year already", Dane Wozniacki said at the draw ceremony.

Serena Williams, who is seeded 16th, faces fellow mother Tatjana Maria of Germany in her first competitive match since her tempestuous US Open final loss to Naomi Osaka.

Kerber will open against Slovenia's Polona Hercog, while No.3 seed Wozniacki will face Alison van Uytvanck first up to begin her title defense. "I'm just enjoying every minute of it".

"I always enjoy my matches against him", 20-time grand slam victor Federer said at the draw. "I've had a great off-season and I feel very well prepared".

Share