Federer to open title defence against Slovenian Bedene

Federer to open title defence against Slovenian Bedene

BC-TEN-Australian Open-Draw, 2nd Ld-Writethru, 632 Federer, Djokovic drawn in same half for Australian OpenAP Photo MEL111, MEL113, MEL116Eds: Edits 5th paragraph to fix typos in Goffin and Querrey.

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.

"For the first time I have to play here at the Australian [Open] for the first tournament of the year". He followed his run to the final in Melbourne by winning the French Open and U.S. Open, splitting the Grand Slam honors with Federer for the year.

Norrie, the sixth seed, came through his first-round match on Wednesday but was well beaten 6-4, 6-2 by Australian John-Patrick Smith.

World No.1 and top seed Rafael Nadal starts his Australian campaign against 83rd-ranked Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic in the top quarter of the draw.

Top-ranked Simona Halep opens against Australian wild card Destanee Aiava, has a potential second-round match against 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., and is in the same half as Garbine Muguruza, the Wimbledon champion.


Nowhere was that more evident than previous year when Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer - supposedly past their best - triumphed to make the final, Federer eventually running out the victor in five sets.

Meanwhile, 2017 Australian Open champion Serena Williams opted out of the competition, saying that her preparations had fallen just short of what she needed to be competitive after giving birth in September.

Former world No 1 Moya will lead Nadal's team, after spending last season with Rafa and Toni preparing for the latter's retirement, having helped Nadal roar back to life after a barren three-year spell without a Grand Slam trophy.

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.

Federer took his Grand Slam tally to 19 after extended rest breaks and Nadal, who enters his 18th season on the ATP tour, has also benefitted from carefully picking tournaments to preserve his fitness.

"Ranking points, player withdrawals and how we deal with that is something we've got to and are looking at", he told Fairfax Media in Auckland. "I certainly will hope I put myself in that position", Sharapova said. "I expect to continue to do so".

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