2018 AUSTRALIAN OPEN TENNIS DRAW • FEDERER IN HALF WITH DJOKOVIC AND WAWRINKA

Written by: on 11th January 2018
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Tennis Australian Open 2018 - training session
2018 AUSTRALIAN OPEN TENNIS DRAW • FEDERER IN HALF WITH DJOKOVIC AND WAWRINKA

epa06430592 Roger Federer of Switzerland in action during a practice session ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 11 January 2018. The Australian Open starts on 15 January. EPA-EFE/LUIS ENRIQUE ASCUI AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT  |

Australian Open draw ceremony held on Thursday, Federer in half with Djokovic and Wawrinka

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

The 2018 Australian Open draw ceremony was held on Thursday night at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena. It was less chaotic than it might if been Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori had not withdrawn from the men’s field, but there was still plenty of intrigue with several players seeded lower than usual due to injury-plagued inactivity.

 

Former champions Novak Djokovic (the No. 14 seed) and Stan Wawrinka (the No. 9 seed) both landed in the bottom half of the draw. They find themselves in the same quarter with Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem and a solid list of unseeded competitors that includes Fernando Verdasco, Steve Johnson, Hyeon Chung, Frances Tiafoe, Donald Young, and recent Doha winner Gael Monfils. Djokovic and Monfils could meet in the second round.

 

Federer, who was interviewed on court prior to the draw being revealed, should enjoy a routine first week as he begins his title defense. The 36-year-old Swiss, however, could go head-to-head with an injury-plagued Milos Raonic in the last 16 and either David Goffin or Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarters.

 

“It was an amazing final for me and an amazing moment in my life,” Federer reflected back on his 2017 Aussie Open triumph. “I had a great four to six weeks of tennis training, and many months before that to get myself ready for the training. I thought physically I would be ready, but my game and wins weren’t going to come.

 

“I was thinking perhaps I might get to the quarterfinals;semifinals at best, then run into a red-hot Djokovic, (Rafael) Nadal, or Murray and my game wouldn’t be good enough for that day. But it was, ending with the epic match against Rafa. The fifth set was perhaps the best set I played. It was the highlight of my year, beating my Wimbledon win later in the year.”

 

As the top two seeds, Nadal and Federer can square off only in what would be a final rematch. The top-ranked Spaniard heads into Melbourne with a knee issue, but his draw is a favorable one that he can capitalize on if he is 100 percent.

 

Nadal will likely coast through his section (under the condition that he is healthy), but plenty of interest in the top half of the bracket will be generated by the second quarter–or more specifically Grigor Dimitrov’s eighth of the bracket. That is home to Dimitrov, Kyrgios, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Andrey Rublev, David Ferrer, and an opening-round showdown between NextGen stars Denis Shapovalov and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

 

The rest of Dimitrov’s section is relatively nondescript, although a difficult first-round pits Kevin Anderson against Kyle Edmund. Anderson, the 2017 U.S. Open runner-up, was interviewed during the draw ceremony.

 

“It was a very close match (against Edmund at the French Open),” Anderson noted. “Kyle is a terrific player and he has really proved himself the last couple of years. He is very physical and his forehand is dangerous. It’s going to be a tough match.”

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

 

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