Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal get easy opponents in Australian Open draw


Rounding out the Big Four, Andy Murray will not play as he recovers from hip surgery.

Federer hailed Nadal for putting up a great fight in last year's Open. But the first Major starts on a somewhat equal footing for the younger lot.

In mid-2016, Dimitrov was ranked as low as 40. If she's going to do it anywhere then Melbourbne is as likely a place as any, especially as Konta was born in Australia and reaches the semi-finals here two years ago. Although the talented Bulgarian didn't have a commanding season, he showed that he can turn the corner on his performance at the decisive moments.

Djokovic is set to make his competitive return to action following a six-month absence due to an elbow problem, and has landed in the same half of the draw as the Swiss world No. 2. Grigor Dimitrov [12.0] is still looking for his first title, as is Alex Zverev [19.0] who won five titles in 2017. The German has shown his talent in the last year, with five titles including two Masters.

Now, having reached his first Grand Slam final last September, Anderson has added experience to go with the muscle.

Below, we have taken a look at the most pertinent Opta facts ahead of the first grand slam of 2018.

A string of local hopes were also dealt difficult draws; 17-year-old Destanee Aiava will face world No.1 Simona Halep while fellow teenager Alex De Minaur, who has made the semifinals at both the Brisbane and Sydney Internationals, will play Tomas Berdych. It doesn't get much easier, as he could face fourth seed Alexander Zverev as early as the fourth round.

Thiem squibbed a simple overhead with the score at 8-8, allowing Nadal to close out the match.

It seemed no-one on the planet was capable of stretching the baseliner when he was in the zone.

But with Murray out until the summer, perhaps this will be the year of the newcomer.

However, 2009 US Open winner Juan Martin Del Potro also lurks in Federer's quarter of the draw.

And, in a touching tribute, Federer says doing it all with a family on board is quite something else. Has two career wins over Rafael Nadal.

The 23-year-old Austrian finished the 2017 season with a title on clay in Rio de Janeiro and a year-end fifth ranking.

"My dream was hopefully holding up a trophy of some kind, my home-town tournament in Basel or a Wimbledon trophy or being world No.1 of the ATP".

"Everybody thinks I probably have a good chance to maybe repeat and other guys are maybe a bit hurt".

He went down to Gasquet 4-6, 5-7.