The stars of the ATP World Tour and WTA Tour are getting ready for the first Grand Slam of 2016 in Melbourne.
Five-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic is projected to face record Grand Slam winner Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the season’s opening Grand Slam following Friday’s draw.
The 10-time Grand Slam champion from Serbia could face Japan’s seventh seed Kei Nishikori in the quarters, while Switzerland’s 17-time major winner Federer is set to meet Czech Tomas Berdych in the second quarter-final of the top half of the men’s draw.
Top seed Djokovic, who wore down Andy Murray to win last year’s Australian final, won three Grand Slam titles among 11 tournament victories in a sensational 2015 season, and a win-loss record of 82-6.
He will play South Korean Hyeon Chung in the opening round.
Think I just watched like a 100-shot rally between Djokovic and Verdasco pic.twitter.com/H6beP5jEP2— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) January 15, 2016
British second seed Murray is drawn to meet Spanish terrier David Ferrer in a quarter-final in the bottom half of the men’s draw.
The Scot will take on Germany’s Alexander Zverev in the opening round, while eighth seed Ferrer could face Lleyton Hewitt in the second round in the Australian great’s 20th consecutive and farewell home Grand Slam before his retirement.
Murray could have a showdown with top-ranked Australian youngster Bernard Tomic in the fourth round.
Rafael Nadal faces a potential rematch of his losing 2014 final against Swiss fourth seed Stan Wawrinka in the other quarter-final in the bottom half of the draw.
Wawrinka is projected to face big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic in the fourth round, while Nadal could take on South African Kevin Anderson in the last 16.
In the women’s draw, top seed Serena Williams is bidding to equal Steffi Graf’s Open-era record of 22 grand slam titles but the world number one will not have it easy in Melbourne.
Italian Camila Giorgi, the highest ranked non-seed, awaits in the first round and she could meet Maria Sharapova, whom she beat in the final 12 months ago, as early as the last eight.
Williams pulled out of matches at the Hopman Cup last week with a knee injury but moved to ease concerns about her fitness.
“Everything’s really well,” she said before the draw. “I’m feeling good. I’m excited about it. I’m ready now.”
See all the top seeds according to the Australian organisers in the infographics below.
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