Australian Open draw: Novak Djokovic, Venus Williams face tough roads

Australian Open draw: Novak Djokovic, Venus Williams face tough roads

He must now win three sudden-death qualifying matches this week to secure his Open entry for a 10th straight year."I'm not going to say anything (about not getting a wildcard)", he told reporters after his first appearance of the year at the Kooyong Classic exhibition, where he lost to Japan's world number 169 Yoshihito Nishioka in straight sets.

Williams withdrew after having given birth last September, Murray with the hip injury that short-circuited his 2017 season last July at Wimbledon, and Nishikori with the wrist that has made him inactive on the ATP Tour since last August in Montreal.

Djokovic is in the same quarter as the Zverev brothers - fourth-seeded Alexander could meet older brother and No. 32-seeded Mischa in the third round - 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka, and No. 5 Dominic Thiem. "I don't want to know who I play other than just seeing the sheet at the end and knowing who my first-round opponent is".

Giorgi, belying her ranking of 100th in the world, beat US Open champion Sloane Stephens in the first round and then ousted twice Wimbledon and former Sydney champion Petra Kvitova.

A string of local hopes were also dealt hard draws; 17-year-old Destanee Aiava will face world number one Simona Halep while fellow teenager Alex De Minaur, who has made the semi-finals at both the Brisbane and Sydney Internationals, will play Tomas Berdych.

Former world number one Novak Djokovic says he intends to play in the Australian Open "for now".

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Women's top seed Simona Halep of Romania faces Australian wildcard Destanee Aiava in the first round, with second seed Caroline Wozniacki starting out against Halep's compatriot Mihaela Buzarnescu.

Last year's Australian Open has been dubbed the throwback grand slam, with the women's final being contested by Serena and Venus Williams, with the men's final seeing Rafael Nadal go down to Roger Federer.

Venus Williams says Serena is "here in spirit" supporting her in Australia, where she's hopeful of ending an nearly decade-long Grand Slam title drought. He also has No. 7-ranked David Goffin, Juan Martin del Potro, Sam Querrey, and Milos Raonic in his quarter.

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. If I got to play the way I did yesterday against the number five in the world.

Roger Federer is the "clear favourite" to retain his Australian Open title over an injury-riddled field when the first grand slam of the season starts next week in Melbourne, tennis analysts said on Wednesday.

"I don't feel there's somebody that different from the rest", Muguruza said. Fitness, training and dieting methods have become extremely scientific making it possible for players to last till the age of 35 years and more.

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