Australian Open 2018: Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic drawn in same half

Ruben Hill
January 13, 2018

Federer got the better of his opponent on that occasion and the Swiss will be strongly fancied to retain his title this year as he chases yet another entry into the history books.

Andy Murray, a five-time finalist in Melbourne, is a notable absentee from the draw after undergoing hip surgery to correct an issue that has sidelined him since the quarter-finals of Wimbledon.

The draw for the 2018 Australian Open has taken place and we put together the most important outcomes right here.

Federer was back at the scene of his remarkable triumph 12 months ago where he defeated his nemesis Nadal in a classic encounter.

Should he succeed, Federer will move onto six Australian Open crowns - the joint highest tally of any man alongside Djokovic and Roy Emerson.

Federer though is heading into the season's first Grand Slam with a lot of confidence after leading Switzerland to season-opening Hopman Cup earlier this year.

Now, under new rules by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), any Grand Slam player who withdraws after 1200 local time yesterday before the tournament draw will still receive 50 percent of first round prize money.

Players will also be able to claim 50 percent of their prize money if they pull out before their first match, an incentive created to allow a replacement to play instead. She has participated in eight Australian Open finals, more than any other player in the Open era and has emerged victorious in seven of the last 15. The man he beat to claim the title in Melbourne past year in Rafael Nadal will begin his campaign against Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic.

The Spaniard, after a couple of barren years in 2015 and 2016, contested three of the four grand slam finals in 2017.

The Wimbledon champion is scheduled take on France's Jessika Ponchet in the first round, while French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko was paired with veteran Francesca Schiavone and U.S Open champion Sloane Stephens will take on China's Zhang Shuai. He delayed his return until two exhibition appearances this week.

Australian women's No.1 Ashleigh Barty, the 18th seed, faces Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, while 23rd seed Daria Gavrilova opens against a qualifier in her bid to reach the second week for a third-straight year.

There has been little to cheer since the turn of the century and the last time an Australian made it to the men's final at Melbourne Park was Lleyton Hewitt in 2005.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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