Roger Federer faces Aljaz Bedene first up in Australian Open tennis

Federer doesn't have much run until the quarterfinals, when he could face either Juan Martin del Potro or David Goffin, both of whom had stellar 2017 seasons.

Hours after battling past Kiki Bertens 6-3 7-6 (6) to reach the quarter-finals, the 24-year-old announced she had withdrawn.

Six-time champion Novak Djokovic is seeded 14th and faces a few potential banana skins on his way through the draw.

Djokovic is in the bottom half anchored by second-seeded Roger Federer, who opens his title defence against 51 {+s} t-ranked Aljaz Bedene.

A rematch of last year's Australian Open semifinal with 2017's strongest finisher, Grigor Dimitrov, is on the cards. By contrast, Djokovic is returning from injury and hopes to avoid a repeat of last year's second-round defeat to Denis Istomin - his worst result since bowing out at the first hurdle in his first appearances in 2005 and 2006.

Serena Williams will not defend the women's title having had her first child a year ago but 2008 champion Maria Sharapova, who failed a drugs test at the tournament in 2016, is back unseeded after a ban and will face Germany's Tatjana Maria.

In the women's draw, top seed Simona Halep faces 17-year-old Australian qualifier Destanee Aiava in the opening round and is likely to face 16th seed Elena Vesnina in the fourth round.

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British number one Johanna Konta, seeded ninth for the first grand slam of the year, will take on Madison Brengle of the U.S. while last year's runner up Venus Williams has been drawn against Belinda Bencic of Switzerland.

Nick Kyrgios' success at the Brisbane International last week has perhaps prompted optimism among Australian fans of a long-awaited home victor this time around.

Djokovic - who was forced to skip the Mubadala World Tennis Championship and the Qatar Open, having not played competitively since withdrawing from the quarter-finals of Wimbledon in July - blitzed Dominic Thiem 6-1 6-4 in his comeback at the Kooyong Classic before losing to retired Australian Lleyton Hewitt in the Tie Break Tens exhibition event later on Wednesday.

"There's no easy way to get to the top", Sharapova told the crowd at Margaret Court Arena before the draw. If I got to play the way I did yesterday against the number five in the world.

"The drive, I still have it".

"I think it's normal because there's a lot of expectations this year", he was quoted as saying by the Australian Open website.

Djokovic continued: "I'm still not 100 per cent".

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