Bernard Tomic doesn't need help to play at Australian Open

Ruben Hill
January 13, 2018

Federer, on the other hand, has Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin Del Potro, Goffiin and Zverev to contend with in his half.

"The quarters, semis at best, because I would just run into a red-hot Djokovic or Murray or Nadal or somebody and my game wasn't going to be good enough for that day - and it was".

Federer beat Rafael Nadal in the final here a year ago on his return from six months on the sidelines and is seeded No. 2 as he bids for a 20th Grand Slam singles title.

Federer says his three-year-old sons Leo and Lenny "seem very interested" in tennis and that his eight-year-old daughters Myla Rose and Charlene Riva, also identical twins, think his friends in the locker-room like countryman Stan Wawrinka are all part of the family.

The draw for the January 15-28 tournament, the first grand slam of the year, takes place later on Thursday. He delayed his return until two exhibition appearances this week.

World No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov faces a qualifier first up and could face American Jack Sock in the quarters.

"There was a doubt, especially after I pulled out of the first week of the year", he admitted.

Serena Williams has opted not to defend her title four months after giving birth to her first child, leaving the women's draw open.

Meanwhile, Nadal will begin his bid for a second Australian Open title against Victor Estrella Burgos, the world No 81 from the Dominican Republic.

Wozniacki is projected to face French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in the quarters.

Arguably the standout tie of the first round will see last year's finalist Venus Williams, the No 5 seed, take on Switzerland's Belinda Bencic, who reached a career-high No 7 in the rankings before an injury layoff.

Serena Williams will not defend the women's title having had her first child previous year but 2008 champion Maria Sharapova, who failed a drugs test at the tournament in 2016, is back unseeded after a ban and will face Germany's Tatjana Maria.

A knee injury which has prevented Nadal from playing competitively since losing to David Goffin at the ATP Finals in November has restricted the 16-time major champion to just a pair of exhibition contests in Melbourne - a far cry from his run to the quarter-finals at the Brisbane International previous year.

Organizers defended the decision to invite Sharapova to appear as the representative for the women's draw, with tournament director Craig Tiley saying the sanction was over and the 30-year-old Russian was there as a former champion.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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