Australian Open 2018 draw: Men's and women's brackets announced

Australian Open 2018 draw: Men's and women's brackets announced

Nadal's first official match is scheduled to take place at the Australian Open, following his withdrawal from the Brisbane International tournament and from an exhibition held in Abu Dhabi. The flashback slam got the finish it deserved when Federer outlasted his good friend Nadal in a colossal five-set battle on Rod Laver Arena.

Elsewhere, former world number one Novak Djokovic has been drawn against 28-year-old American Donald Young in his opening round match and faces a potential meeting with Gael Monfils, the victor of last week's Qatar Open, in the second. Rublev lost in straight sets to ATP world #1 and eventual champion Rafael Nadal in quarters.

"The first thing is to play a match again".

Federer beat Rafael Nadal in the final here a year ago on his return from six months on the sidelines and is seeded No. 2 as he bids for a 20th Grand Slam singles title. "I'm pretty good, a bit exhausted, I worked hard while I've been in Australia which is why I arrived pretty early here, so I can't wait to start this tournament", Pouille said.

"So (it was) a huge surprise, especially after the six months I had off, and what a comeback it was and it was definitely the highlight of the year. I'm excited about it and I've got a few days to practice".

The first grand slam always brings with it a sense of uncertainty.

Former world number one Kerber fell out of the top 20 last year but has made a strong start to the year ahead of next week's Australian Open with victories over Lucie Safarova and Venus Williams this week.

Former world No 1 Moya will lead Nadal's team, after spending last season with Rafa and Toni preparing for the latter's retirement, having helped Nadal roar back to life after a barren three-year spell without a Grand Slam trophy.

There is a difference, however, with Federer guiding Switzerland to their third Hopman Cup trophy - 17 years on from claiming the title alongside Martina Hingis.

Twelve months on from his unforgettable surge to a fifth Open crown aged 35 and in his first official tournament back after six months out of the game, Federer admits he can still barely believe what he pulled off.

'It's not an issue that I'm playing qualifiers.

"Defending a title the very first time is the hard part... if you don't win, it's all dramatic but later on in life you take it as it comes, try your best and if it works out, great but if it doesn't, it just doesn't".

Roger Federer will begin his Australian Open title defence against Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia.

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