Australian Open men’s draw: Djokovic lands in same half as Federer; Nadal and Kyrgios on collision course

andrew hendrie:

Novak Djokovic has been handed a relatively tough opening round draw as he begins his Australian Open title defence, with the record seven-time champion also drawn into the same half as Roger Federer.

The 2020 Australian Open draw was conducted on Thursday evening at Melbourne Park, with the best players in the world now equipped with the knowledge of who they’ll have to go through in order to emerge triumphant with the silverware.

Djokovic, who will seeking an eighth Australian Open title over the next fortnight, will come up against the hard-hitting Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany in the opening round and is seeded to meet the in-form Dan Evans in the third round.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, the reigning ATP Finals champion, could be waiting in the quarter-finals, while Federer is lurking at the top of the half and will take on Steve Johnson in his first round.

Federer is on course to face the rising Hubert Hurkacz in the third round (or John Millman, the man who beat him at the U.S. Open a couple of years ago) and might face another young gun in Denis Shapovalov in the Round of 16. Matteo Berrettini, who has been injured recently, is Federer’s seeded quarter-final opponent.

Meanwhile, in the top half of the draw, World No. 1 Rafael Nadal has a comfortable opener against Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien – someone who has barely won tour-level matches on hardcourt.

However, the Spaniard – who should progress unscathed into the second week – does have a potential blockbuster on his hands against rival Nick Kyrgios, with the pair seeded to clash in the Round of 16. Kyrgios, who is starting to wins fans over after starting the ball rolling with donations to Australia’s bushfire relief, starts his campaign against Lorenzo Sonego and is seeded to meet Karen Khachanov in the third round.

Dominic Thiem, who finished runner-up to Tsitsipas at the ATP Finals, is seeded fifth and is in the same quarter as Nadal and Kyrgios.

Elsewhere, Daniil Medvedev – seeded fourth at a major for the first time – comes up against last year’s quarter-finalist Frances Tiafoe in an eye-catching opening round and could potentially run into former champion Stan Wawrinka in the Round of 16.

Medvedev’s seeded quarter-final rival is Alexander Zverev, but the German is struggling at the moment and is absolutely no lock to make what would be a first Australian Open quarter-final. Zverev takes on Marco Cecchinato in the first round and might have to through the in-form Andrey Rublev if he is to make the last eight.