Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Rafael Nadal, Simona Halep announced top seeds for Australian Open

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.

Federer, who was interviewed on court prior to the draw being revealed, should enjoy a routine first week as he begins his title defense.

In men's list Wimbledon finalist Marin Cilic, David Goffin, Jack Sock, Stan Wawrinka, Pablo Carreno Busta completes the top ten.

First up, the 36-year-old Swiss will play Ajaz Bedene of Slovenia.

The women's draw was going to be headlined by the return to tennis for Serena Williams, who won last year's tournament while pregnant.

Seeded down in 14th after not playing competitively since Wimbledon, six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic is up against Donald Young.

Rafael Nadal suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Richard Gasquet of France at the Kooyong Classic exhibition in Australia.He went down to Gasquet 4-6, 5-7.This was Nadal's first match in a while.

He beat Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets in the second round of the 2017 US Open.

Four years since Nadal entered the year's first Grand Slam as the top seed, the Spaniard again finds himself with the No.1 next to his name on the draw.

Nadal heads defending champion Roger Federer at the top of the men's seedings, with Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki seeded one and two in the women's competition.

An unlikely victor at Melbourne Park in 2017 before going on to capture Wimbledon, the evergreen 36-year-old - who enjoyed a renaissance last season having been struck down by injuries in 2016 - is trusting his tried and tested preparation, having featured at the Hopman Cup in Perth just like he did last year.

Federer defeated Nadal in a memorable five-set final previous year to win his 18th grand slam title, before later triumphing at Wimbledon.

Serena Williams will not defend the women's title having had her first child previous year but 2008 champion Maria Sharapova, who failed a drugs test at the tournament in 2016, is back unseeded after a ban and will face Germany's Tatjana Maria. It was the first year since 2009 that Djokovic didn't reach at least one Grand Slam final.

"Ranking points, player withdrawals and how we deal with that is something we've got to and are looking at", he told Fairfax Media in Auckland.

"The US Open last summer was great for me - I learned a lot from that", Anderson said. "I certainly will hope I put myself in that position", Sharapova said.

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