Australian Open draw: Djokovic & Wawrinka pose threat to Zverev

Federer favourite despite tough Australian Open draw

"I just thought that the game and the wins weren't going to come, I was probably going to lose at some stage", Federer said at Thursday night's Open draw at Melbourne Park. Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are top seeds in the men's singles bracket, while Novak Djokovic, seeded No. 14, is uncharacteristically an underdog.

A few minutes later when the formalities were completed, Federer found out how hard defending his title could be after landing in the same half as six-time champion Novak Djokovic. But what a pleasure to be here on Margaret Court Arena. If healthy this season - a big if for Djokovic and Nadal as it begins - they still look like the stars around which others will orbit. This argument in turn spurs questions about whether women should play best-of-five matches at the Slams, just like the men.

Federer's big concern would be against del Potro in the quarters.

While Murray is out, Novak Djokovic has fallen down the seedings, as has another former champion in Stan Wawrinka, who sits on the edge of the top ten.

While Konta has been in poor form of late and doesn't appear to be 100%, she has a strong record in Melbourne and a combination of her new coach and an Australian crowd that will readopt her will guide her to the title.

The 16-time Grand Slam victor was far from his best in the exhibition encounter against a player he has beaten 15-0 on the ATP Tour in a rivalry dating back to junior days. 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.

"Exactly two years ago, 2016 Australian Open was when the problem with the elbow started", Djokovic said.

The projected women's quarterfinals include Simona Halep vs. Karolina Pliskova, Garbine Muguruza vs. 2017's beaten finalist is up against Belinda Bencic in the opening round.

Take the two men that contested last year's final, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, they are considered by many as the frontrunners once again.

Then in 2017, after almost three years of suffering against Djokovic, the 10-time French Open champion appeared to change gears again, adding more pop to his serve and massively strengthening his double-handed backhand to better handle Djokovic's incessant pounding.

Zverev is considered the heir apparent to the ATP's aging superstars but his hopes of advancing deep into this slam could come under an early threat from two risky floaters in the most hotly contested quarter of the draw.

"But, as he indicated this morning, he will be ready to play and it's great to see him out here".

Long-absent luminaries Serena Williams, Andy Murray, Victoria Azarenka and Kei Nishikori remain absent, and Murray will be out for at least several months more after hip surgery.

"The drive, I still have it".

"I " m very happy to be back in Australia", he said.

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