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Djokovic, Nadal in opposite halves of the Australian Open men’s draw

Projected semi-finals are Nadal vs Tsitsipas and Ruud vs Djokovic with all four having a chance to leave Melbourne as the world No 1

Djokovic_Nadal_2022 Djokovic_Nadal_2022 Image Credit: AI/ Reuters/ Panoramic

Top seed and defending champion Rafael Nadal and nine-time champion Novak Djokovic have been drawn in opposite halves of the men’s singles event of the 2023 Australian Open as tournament organizers released the draw on Thursday in Melbourne.

Nadal won the tournament 12 months ago coming back from two-sets-to-love to beat Daniil Medvedev in the final while Djokovic was barred from competing as he was deported out of the country over issues related to his visa and medical exemption from vaccination.

The Spaniard, who lost both his matches at the United Cup earlier this month, could meet Medvedev in this year’s quarter-finals if the seedings hold up and then either third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas or sixth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, who is now coached by his uncle Toni Nadal, in the semis.

To get to the quarters, Nadal will have to negotiate past young British player Jack Draper, who is through to the semis in Adelaide this week, in the first round and 16th seeded American Frances Tiafoe in the fourth round.

The projected quarter-finals in the men’s draw is as below

  • (1) Nadal v (7) Medvedev
  • (3) Tsitsipas v (6) Auger-Aliassime
  • (4) Djokovic v (5) Rublev
  • (2) Ruud v (8) Fritz

Top four seeds could end Australian Open as world No 1

Djokovic, on the other hand, meets Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena as he begins his campaign for a record-extending 10th title in Melbourne Park. He also has former world No 3 Grigor Dimitrov, now seeded 27th, in the third round and Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta, seeded 14th, in the fourth round.

With world No 1 Carlos Alcaraz out of the tournament due to injury, Nadal, Djokovic, Tsitsipas and second seed Casper Ruud all have a chance of leaving Melbourne Park as the world No 1.

Leading local hopes at Australian Open, Kyrgios could meet Rune in round three

Australian No 1 Nick Kyrgios, seeded 19th, opens his campaign for a first Grand Slam title against Roman Safiullin and is projected to meet ninth seed Holger Rune in the third round. If Kyrgios can get to the last 16, he could meet fifth seed Andrey Rublev, who has been handed one of the toughest first-round assignments against former US Open champion Dominic Thiem.

Besides Nadal vs Draper and Rublev vs Thiem, some of the other blockbuster first-round matches include three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray meeting 13th seed Matteo Berrettini, former Australian Open winner Stan Wawrinka meeting Slovakia’s Alex Molcan, ninth seed Rune against Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic, Dimitrov against former Australian Open semi-finalist Aslan Karatsev, and local favourite Thanasi Kokkinakis playing Italian veteran Fabio Fognini

Below is a look at the complete men’s draw.

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