Lower seeding, tougher draw for Roger Federer at Australian Open

Switzerland's Roger Federer serves during a training session ahead of the Australian Open in Melbourne.
DAVID GRAY/REUTERS

Switzerland's Roger Federer serves during a training session ahead of the Australian Open in Melbourne.

A long injury layoff and a fall in the rankings have created a tougher draw for 17-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer at the Australian Open.

Federer slipped to No 17 in the rankings this week after Grigor Dimitrov won the Brisbane International and moved up to No 15.

The Australian Open tends to stick with the rankings when its seeds 32 players in each of the men's and women's 128-player singles draws, meaning the 35-year-old Federer gets less protection than usual and could potentially face a top 10 player in the third round.

The seedings were confirmed by Australian Open organisers on Thursday. The draw will be held on Friday for the season-opening major, which starts Monday at Melbourne Park.

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Federer has won the Australian Open four times, his first in 2004, and also reached the final in 2009, but he hasn't won the title here since 2010.

He spent six months out of action last year while recovering after surgery on his left knee and finished 2016 at No 16, ending a year in which his record run of 65 Grand Slam appearances ended when he couldn't contest the French Open. He also missed the US Open.

He returned to action at the international mixed teams exhibition at the Hopman Cup in Perth last week.

As expected, No 1-ranked Andy Murray is the top seed ahead of six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic in the men's draw and Angelique Kerber, the reigning Australian and US Open champion, is the top seed in the women's draw ahead of six-time campion Serena Williams, who is seeded No 2.

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Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic is No 3 in the men's seedings, and US Open champion Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori, Gael Monfils, Marin Cilic, Dominic Thiem, 14-time major winner Rafael Nadal and Tomas Berdych round out the top-10.

Following Kerber and Williams in the list of top-10 women's seeds are Agnieszka Radwanska, Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova, Dominika Cibulkoa, Garbine Muguruza, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Johanna Konta and Carla Suarez Navarro.

 - AP

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