Melbourne – World
number ones Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep were named top seeds on
Thursday for next week’s Australian Open, with 23-time major winner
Serena Williams lurking at 16 on the women’s side.
Djokovic heads long-time rival Rafael Nadal and defending champion
Roger Federer, with young-gun Alexander Zverev seeded four as he targets
a maiden Grand Slam title.
The Serbian world No 1 is aiming to make history by claiming a
record seventh Australian Open crown when the tournament starts at
Melbourne Park on Monday, as is Swiss legend Federer.
The pair face a stern challenge from Zverev, the torch-bearer for the
next generation who has so far failed to get beyond the quarter-finals
at any major.
With world No 5 Juan Martin del Potro missing through injury,
South Africa’s Kevin Anderson is elevated to fifth seed with last year’s
beaten finalist Marin Cilic at six.
Halep takes the top seeding among the women courtesy of her world No 1 ranking, but she enters the tournament with only one match in
four months under her belt after an injury lay off.
The Romanian, the beaten finalist last year, is returning from a
herniated disc and was bundled out of the Sydney International on
Wednesday at the first hurdle.
Denmark’s defending champion Caroline Wozniacki, who is battling
health problems and poor form, is seeded three, one behind Germany’s
US Open champion Naomi Osaka is at four while Sloane Stephens, who also slumped out of Sydney early, is at five.
Overshadowing them all is the mighty Williams, who last played the tournament in 2017 when she won while eight weeks pregnant.
The 37-year-old enters the tournament seeded 16, but has proved in
the past that such numbers mean little to her. She is the hot favourite
to claim a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam.
1. Novak Djokovic (SRB), 2. Rafael Nadal (ESP). 3. Roger Federer
(SUI), 4, Alexander Zverev (GER). 5. Kevin Anderson (RSA), 6. Marin
Cilic (CRO), 7. Dominic Thiem (AUT), 8. Kei Nishikori (JPN), 9. John
Isner (USA). 10. Karen Khachanov (RUS), 11. Borna Coric (CRO), 12. Fabio
Fognini (ITA), 13. Kyle Edmund (GBR), 14. Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE), 15.
Daniil Medvedev (RUS), 16. Milos Raonic (CAN), 17. Marco Cecchinato
(ITA), 18. Diego Schwartzman (ARG), 19. Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO), 20.
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL), 21. David Goffin (BEL), 22. Roberto Agut Bautista
(ESP), 23. Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP), 24. Chung Hyeon (KOR), 25. Denis
Shapovalov (CAN), 26. Fernando Verdasco (ESP), 27. Alex de Minaur (AUS),
28. Lucas Pouille (FRA), 29. Gilles Simon (FRA), 30. Gael Monfils
(FRA), 31. Steve Johnson (USA), 32. Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)
1. Simon Halep (ROU), 2. Angelique Kerber (GER), 3. Caroline
Wozniacki (DEN), 4. Naomi Osaka (JPN), 5. Sloane Stephens (USA), 6.
Elina Svitolina (UKR), 7. Karolina Pliskova (CZE), 8. Petra Kvitova
(CZE), 9. Kiki Bertens (NED), 10. Daria Kasatkina (RUS), 11. Aryna
Sabalenka (BLR) 12. Elise Mertens (BEL), 13. Anastasija Sevastova
(LAT), 14. Julia Goerges (GER), 15. Ashleigh Barty (AUS), 16. Serena
Williams (USA), 17. Madison Keys (USA), 18. Garbine Muguruza (ESP), 19.
Caroline Garcia (FRA), 20. Anett Kontaveit (EST), 21. Qiang Wang (CHN),
22. Jelena Ostapenko (LAT), 23. Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP), 24. Lesia
Tsurenko (UKR), 25. Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROU), 26. Dominika Cibulkova
(SVK), 27. Camila Giorgi (ITA), 28. Hsieh Suwei (TPE), 29. Donna Vekic
(CRO), 30. Maria Sharapova (RUS), 31. Petra Martic (CRO), 32. Barbora