AUSTRALIA OPEN: Federer drawn against Bedene, Nadal meets Burgos

Toni Nadal 'In 2015 Novak Djokovic was more complete than Federer in 2017'

Young has been an afterthought the last couple of years, but he is a talented player capable of putting up a fight.

"I think it's normal because there's a lot of expectations this year", he was quoted as saying by the Australian Open website.

Seeded women in the tournament were lucky to avoid the threat of Maria Sharapova who is ranked 47th in the world after serving a doping suspension in 2017.

To predict a victor of either of the singles titles is hard.

The true pretender to the throne - Dimitrov rose to world No 8 in 2014 on the back of a run to the Wimbledon semi-finals, while the "Baby Federer" nickname only heightened the expectation that this was a multiple Grand Slam champion in the making.

Players will also be able to claim 50 percent of their prize money if they pull out before their first match, an incentive created to allow a replacement to play instead. This leaves several top players who all could potentially lift the trophy at the end of the fortnight, with it being possible to make cases for any of Muguruza, Halep or Pliskova.

Sock or in-form 11th-seeded Kevin Anderson could face Dimitrov in the quarters.

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Naomi Broady battled through to the second round of qualifying at the Australian Open but there were defeats for Cameron Norrie and Katie Boulter. And of course there are all the health concerns, like with Nadal's knees and Djokovic's elbow.

While 2017 was all about the renaissance of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in men's tennis, their revival was barely tested by the other members of the Big Four. With so much time off from the sport, it's going to be interesting to see just how much rust there is for Djokovic.

To choose a potential "dark horse" for the title is slightly easier as both draws are wide open. The seedings for the Australian Open have been largely decided according to the ATP world rankings. The aesthetic appeal of Federer's play pitted against the more down-to-earth rugged artistry of Nadal's has set up a convenient binary fans revel in. As for the men's draw I am going to give Juan Martin del Potro the "dark horse" label.

The world number two's bid for a 20th grand slam title will be aided by lingering injuries to top players like Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic, as well as the absences of Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori. If they are fully fit, Djokovic and Wawrinka only add further competition and excitement to a packed field. It's a phrase you'll likely hear over the coming fortnight, but there's no denying he has the qualities to become a multiple Grand Slam champion if, and it's a big if, he can pull it together for a two-week long tournament.

Djokovic, returning from injury, has his work cut out for him Down Under.

The final category is the young players to watch.

The Swiss is both favourite and defending champion going into the Australian Open, having triumphed in a breath-taking five-set victory over his old adversary, and friend, Rafael Nadal previous year.



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