ROGER FEDERER found himself in the same half as six-time champion Novak Djokovic yesterday when the Australian Open draw took place.
The job of defending his title will now be harder than already expected.
Federer was left surprised at the news when he found out and said: “This is not normal, I don’t like usually going to draws because they freak me out. I don’t want to know who I play other than just seeing the sheet at the end and knowing who my first-round opponent it is.”
The 36-year-old will play Ajaz Bedene of Slovenia in the first round, with No 7 ranked David Goffin, Juan Martin del Potro, Sam Querrey and hard-serving Milos Raonic also in his quarter of the draw.
A potential semi-final between Federer and Djokovic could be on the cards, with the Serb aiming for his seventh Australian Open title, but he is currently seeded 14th as he is back on court after being told to take a break for six months due to a right elbow injury .
Federer beat Spaniard Rafael Nadal in the final last year on his return after being out for six months himself. He is the No 2 seed this year and will be looking to win and secure a 20th grand slam singles title.
On the women’s side of the tournament, 2008 champion Maria Sharapova is willing “to get to the top,” as she is presently the 47th seed.
Sharapova was ruled out for a long time but has remained patient returning to the tour, with the belief that she can win. She said: “I put a lot of expectations on myself because I have been there and I have delivered in those moments. I expect to continue to do so.”
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