Nadal, Federer seeded 1-2 at Australian Open

The 2008 champion Maria Sharapova is unseeded and takes on 47th-ranked German Tatjana Maria in the first round in the same section of the draw.

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

A few minutes later when the formalities were completed, Federer found out how hard defending his title could be after landing in the same half as six-time champion Novak Djokovic. But what a pleasure to be here on Margaret Court Arena.

Norrie, the sixth seed, came through his first-round match on Wednesday but was well beaten 6-4, 6-2 by Australian John-Patrick Smith.

"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".

Grigor Dimitrov is the No. 3 seed, and six-time champion Novak Djokovic is 14th as he comes back from a six-month injury layoff.

Djokovic is in the same quarter as the Zverev brothers - fourth-seeded Alexander could meet older brother and No. 32-seeded Mischa in the third round - 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka, and No. 5 Dominic Thiem.

Moya can take some credit for the vast improvement in Nadal's second serve, which helped the Spaniard win a 10th French Open title without dropping a set and saw him blow away Kevin Anderson to lift the final major of the year in NY. It was the first year since 2009 that Djokovic didn't reach at least one Grand Slam final.

This was Nadal's first match in a while. "I wanted to be back on court, unfortunately the elbow wouldn't let me last week".

Meanwhile, 2017 Australian Open champion Serena Williams opted out of the competition, saying that her preparations had fallen just short of what she needed to be competitive after giving birth in September.

An unlikely victor at Melbourne Park in 2017 before going on to capture Wimbledon, the evergreen 36-year-old - who enjoyed a renaissance last season having been struck down by injuries in 2016 - is trusting his tried and tested preparation, having featured at the Hopman Cup in Perth just like he did last year.

The big features of the women's draw is that the top seed and world No.1, Simona Halep still hasn't won a Grand Slam title. Thiem, who admittedly played far from his best, barely got a read of it. "It's been many months out of the tour", Wawrinka said.

"The drive, I still have it".

"The boys are young and one of them was watching me at the Hopman Cup last week and he said: 'I can do what Papa can, I can play tennis too'. I expect to continue to do so". "I put a lot of expectations on myself because I have been there, and I have delivered in those moments".

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