Alexander Zverev, who's ranked fourth, will play Italian Thomas Fabbiano but has 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka, returning after surgery, in his section of the draw.
It is no wonder that Roger Federer at 36 can produces such electrifying and immaculate tennis, comfortably taking out power tennis players and baseline warriors with a mix of court craft, deceit and anticipation. Serena Williams also revealed that she was bedridden for six weeks after the birth of her child due to blood clot in her lungs. Germany's former world No. 1 Angelique Kerber, who continued her resurgence with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Italian Camila Giorgi later yesterday, stands in the way of Barty's second career title.
Djokovic told Omnisport: "These two guys, considering the year they had and considering they played finals together here in Australia". If they are fully fit, Djokovic and Wawrinka only add further competition and excitement to a packed field.
The waiting is almost over for tennis fans. Caroline Wozniacki, Garbine Muguruza and Elina Svitolina round out the top four.
The women's field has tended to be a lot more volatile over the last decade and the battle for the No 1 ranking makes the women's draw even more interesting. As a defending champion at Melbourne Park, the level of expectations will mean a different business. French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko is seeded No. 7 and U.S. Open winner Sloane Stephens is No. 13. In the same period, he beat Federer 11 times out of 17 (including one walkover) and Murray 14 times out of 17.
Federer, who won last year's final in five sets, has 2/1 odds of winning the title, according to OddsChecker. But for the leading favourites, there are plenty of records to chase after. She has also failed to progress beyond the first round in the last two editions. Given that few in the sport would have predicted this resurgence by the legendary veterans, I perhaps risk embarrassment by attempting to preview and predict this year's tournament.
Will the real Next Gen please stand up?
The Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year, is set to get underway on Jan. 15, with the men's singles title match set for Jan. 28.
But he insists it is premature to contemplate a repeat clash with the Spaniard.
In the women's field, there is a slew of young stars eager to snatch the baton.
What then can one expect in 2018, as the 12-time Major winner finds himself in the middle of another Fedal narrative?
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