Djokovic dealt tough Australian Open draw as he plans tennis comeback

Djokovic dealt tough Australian Open draw as he plans tennis comeback

Djokovic dealt tough Australian Open draw as he plans tennis comeback

In the top half of the draw, Rafael Nadal's first serious threat ought to come in the shape of John Isner in the fourth round.

Federer, who was interviewed on court prior to the draw being revealed, should enjoy a routine first week as he begins his title defense.

"For the first time I have to play here at the Australian [Open] for the first tournament of the year. That was not part of my dream", says men's tennis's oldest year-ending world No.2.

Djokovic made a winning return on Wednesday after six months out with an elbow injury, declaring he felt "great" after beating world number five Dominic Thiem 6-1, 6-4 at the Kooyong Classic.

What was more concerning, albeit in an exhibition, was his performance against retired 36-year-old Lleyton Hewitt in the semi-finals of the event - first to 10 points - having survived match points against the Australian.

Nadal will be the top seed, ahead of Roger Federer and young guns Grigor Dimitrov and Alexander Zverev.

Australian bad boy Bernard Tomic was fined a third of his £35,000 ($47,500) prize money for unsportsmanlike conduct at Wimbledon, after saying he felt "bored" and "couldn't care less" following a straight-sets defeat on day one.

The draw for the January 15-28 tournament, the first grand slam of the year, takes place later on Thursday.

Reuters picMELBOURNE, Jan 11 ― Romania's world No.1 Simona Halep will face Australian wild card Destanee Aiava as her first round opponent at the Australian Open, while today's draw could also see her go up against Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-finals.

Serena Williams has opted not to defend her title four months after giving birth to her first child, leaving the women's draw open.

Now ranked No47, she could face the 14th seed Anastasija Sevastova in the second round, Angelique Kerber - the 2016 champion - in the third round and, potentially, Garbine Muguruza, the Wimbledon champion, in the fourth round.

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.

British number one Johanna Konta, seeded ninth for the first grand slam of the year, will take on Madison Brengle of the United States of America while last year's runner up Venus Williams has been drawn against Belinda Bencic of Switzerland.

"Ranking points, player withdrawals and how we deal with that is something we've got to and are looking at", he told Fairfax Media in Auckland. "I'm just going to go out there, try to weather the storm, and try to play my game", De Minaur said. "I expect to continue to do so".