Published: Thu, January 10, 2019
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Chinese Wang Qiang seeded 21st at Australian Open

Chinese Wang Qiang seeded 21st at Australian Open

After winning the Australian Open a year ago, Federer skipped the French Open for the third time in a row before losing in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon and the fourth round at the US Open. Local hope John Millman, who dumped Roger Federer out of the fourth round at last year's U.S. Open, is no slouch either as a potential second round match-up for Murray, with 10th-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov another likely roadblock to the last 16.

Serbian Djokovic heads into the tournament as favourite to win a record seventh title and his third Grand Slam in a row, while five-times runner-up Murray, now ranked 230th, will have far lower expectations at the event starting on Monday.

Andy Murray has offered a fan a ticket to his Australian Open first-round clash with Roberto Bautista Agut.

Should Djokovic, a six-time victor at Melbourne Park, beat an as-yet-unknown qualifier, he could face wild card Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the next match, with Denis Shapovalov a possible third-round opponent and Kei Nishikori potentially awaiting in the last eight.

Last year's semi-finalist Kyle Edmund, seeded 13th, looms as a possible fourth round match-up for the Spaniard, who could then face big-serving South African Kevin Anderson in the quarter-finals if the draw follows the seedings, and potentially Federer in the semis.

Murray won just two games in an incomplete practice match with Djokovic at Melbourne Park, showing signs he's still not fully fit after spending most of the last 18 months off the tour.


The draw for the first Grand Slam of the year took place on Thursday, as the likes of Federer, Djokovic and Rafael Nadal learned what their potential paths to the trophy would look like.

Konta is in a loaded top quarter of the draw that also includes world number one Simona Halep - who faces a rematch with her US Open conqueror Kaia Kanepi - Serena and Venus Williams, Garbine Mugurza and Karolina Pliskova.

"I'm so close, I'll give it a go, " Federer said.

"To finally get that (title) here was so special, it's the happy slam".

But defending champion Federer is especially good on the hard courts Down Under.

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