Federer drawn against Bedene in Melbourne, Nadal meets Estrella Burgos

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"I don't want to be overconfident, but I'm very, very happy with how it went today", added the 30-year-old. Ideally I would have had another tournament before the start of the Open, but it was not meant to be. The seventh seed may have to deal with any of Fabio Fognini (25), Tomas Berdych (19) or Juan Martin del Potro (12) if he is to get to the last eight in Melbourne.

Grigor Dimitrov, a semifinalist here past year, is seeded third and six-time champion Novak Djokovic - coming back from a six-month injury layoff - is 14th.

Besides Djokovic and Federer, former champion Stan Wawrinka and Thiem were also placed in the heavy bottom half.

"It was a great start, it feels really good to be back on the court", a beaming Djokovic said in an on-court interview after his first competitive set since Wimbledon previous year.

But more so than the competition, it is the 36-year-old Federer's dominant play at this month's Hopman Cup, where he won all four of his singles matches and led Switzerland to the title, that gives him the edge.

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.

Williams' quarter also includes fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina and 13th-seeded Sloane Stephens, who won last year's U.S. Open but has lost all seven matches she's played since.

Roger Federer
GETTYRoger Federer has 19 Grand Slams to his name

In the women's draw, top seed Simona Halep will face Australian wildcard Destanee Aiava in the opening round and could face two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the third round.

And so if the 2017 Australian Open was one for the ages — the revival of the Federer- Nadal rivalry and another Williams sisters final — the 2018 edition is shaping as a survival of the fittest.

The five-time major victor finished 2017 ranked No. 60, meaning she missed out on a seeding for the Australian Open and could face 2016 champion Kerber in the third round.

Maria Sharapova [16.0] will get plenty of attention, after re-entering the top 50 for the first time since her ban.

"I just feel like she's playing the best tennis right now, playing the most solid tennis".

This was exemplified when he reclaimed the world No 1 spot from Andy Murray in August, marking the third time he has regained the ranking since first usurping Federer in 2008.

"The drive, I still have it". A handy consultant last season, four-time champion Andre Agassi is said to be now planning a late dash Down Under to re-join the team after a snowboarding mishap back home. "I put a lot of expectations on myself because I have been there, and I have delivered in those moments". This trend started showing up from 2011 and is set to continue according to the study published recently.

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