Rafael Nadal, Simona Halep announced top seeds for Australian Open

After a brief off-season at the end of the year, players need to get into their top form immediately Down Under.

Players have complained that the tour is too hectic but they are forced to play in maximum tournaments to keep their ranking where it is.

Meanwhile, world number one Rafael Nadal, who finished second best in last year's final, will open his campaign against 37-year-old Victor Estrella Burgos.

Australia's singles contingent could be boosted with John Patrick Smith, Bernard Tomic, James Duckworth, Brad Mousley and Patricia Hon still in contention.

Seeded down in 14th after not playing competitively since Wimbledon, six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic is up against Donald Young.

If del Potro is fit, then he could go far in Australia, but until all doubts over his conditioning have been proved wrong, he should be viewed as an outsider for the title.

Bouchard, who has fallen on tough times in recent years and comes into Melbourne ranked 81st, faces France's Oceane Dodin in the first round.

Lying in wait on his half of the draw are potential match ups against fellow Swiss, and 2014 winner Stan Wawrinka, Dominic Thiem, Gael Monfils, Juan Martin del Potro, and six-time champ Novak Djokovic.

BC-TEN-Australian Open-Draw, 2nd Ld-Writethru, 632 Federer, Djokovic drawn in same half for Australian OpenAP Photo MEL111, MEL113, MEL116Eds: Edits 5th paragraph to fix typos in Goffin and Querrey. "You had to play the court and try to hit hard".

Dimitrov's first stern test is likely to come from Kyrgios in a fourth-round blockbuster. At the Melbourne Park, that trend might continue in 2018.

"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".

Following the high point of Paris two years ago, Djokovic's effectiveness waned. Because of the elbow, that shot in my game was compromised prior to Wimbledon in July when it actually happened that I had to stop.

The Wimbledon champion is scheduled take on France's Jessika Ponchet in the first round, while French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko was paired with veteran Francesca Schiavone and U.S Open champion Sloane Stephens will take on China's Zhang Shuai.

In a women's tuneup, Hopman Cup winner Belinda Bencic beat 16-year-old Wang Xinyu of China 7-6 (7/5), 6-4.

With the exhibition match tied at a set all, the duo opted to finish the match with a tie-breaker, which the Spaniard won 10-8, reported the Australian Associated Press.

"He looks younger than ever", ESPN tennis analyst and former professional Patrick McEnroe told reporters on a call on Wednesday.

Thiem, 24, has been battling a virus and significant jetlag but was confident he will be ready to fire next week. If you make a trip to Tomorrowland, do visit the MoMU for some eccentric fashion inspiration. "This is the one I guess that is my most consistent Slam potentially". The poor conditions at Kooyong and the holiday-season time slot gradually drove away stars once they started making enough money to skip the event.

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