Djokovic, Federer on opposite sides of Australian Open draw

Djokovic, Federer on opposite sides of Australian Open draw

The 37-year-old, seeded third, is bidding to extend his all-time leading men's Grand Slam record to 21 title and would capture a 100th ATP tournament win in the process.

"The Australian Open hasn't been the quickest of hard courts in the past couple of years, and if I was the tournament director, there is no way they wouldn't keep it that way because it favours [Nick] Kyrgios, most Australians, and definitely Federer".

The draw for the first Grand Slam of the season was made on Thursday and the top seeds could face some early tests of their credentials when play gets underway in Melbourne on Monday. He has the potential of a second-round meeting against wildcard Jo-Wilfried Tsonga with a potential quarter-final showdown against Kei Nishikori.

Men's second seed Rafael Nadal opens against Australian James Duckworth, fourth seed Alexander Zverev starts against Slovenian Aljaz Bedene, and last year's runner-up Marin Cilic plays another local in Bernard Tomic.

One of the stand-out ties of the first round sees the unseeded Nick Kyrgios' meet 2016 semi-finalist and 16th seed Milos Raonic, with the victor of that contest going through to face either 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka or Ernests Gulbis.

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Andy Murray won only two games in a dispiriting practice match against Novak Djokovic that marked a setback to his Australian Open preparations.

Playing at Melbourne Park for the first time since 2017 and a year on from hip surgery, Murray called time after 49 minutes as the current world No.1 Djokovic led 6-1 4-1. Halep has a tough opening encounter against Kaia Kanepi and a possible third rounder against Venus Williams.

"I'm so close, I'll give it a go", Federer said.

Romanian Halep was named the top seed in women's singles, followed by Angelique Kerber of Germany and Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki.

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