Federer Starts Australian Open Title Defence Against Slovenian Bedene

World number two Roger Federer will begin his Australian Open title defence against Slovenian player Aljaz Bedene after the draw for the 2018 edition was held on Thursday.

Bedene was formerly a British player before he switched to playing under the Slovenian flag on January 1.

In the same half of the draw, former world number one Djokovic, seeded 14th will face American Donald Young and possibly Gael Monfils of France in round two on his return from injury.

The Serbian could also face fourth seeded German Alexander Zverev, who plays Thomas Fabbiano of Italy in the 1st round.

Top seed Rafael Nadal will face world number 81 Victor Estrella Burgos from the Dominican Republic in his opening match at Melbourne.

For the women’s draw, top seed Simona Halep will lead the charge in the absence of defending champion and former world number one Serena Williams.

Halep will play Australian teenager Destanee Aiava in her 1st round match, with former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova a potential opponent in round three.

2008 champion Maria Sharapova will face world number 46 German, Tatjana Maria.

The 30-year old Russian is gradually working her way back into reckoning after serving a 15-month ban for failing a doping test at the 2016 Australian Open and subsequently serving a 15-month ban.

She is presently ranked 47th and unseeded for the Melbourne tournament.

Danish second seed Caroline Wozniacki will start her bid for a first Grand Slam title against Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania, while third seeded Polish and Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza will play Jessika Ponchet of France.