Federer and Nadal on collision course in Oz open draw

Federer and Nadal on collision course in Oz open draw

Second seed and 2016 champion Angelique Kerber, bidding for a fourth Grand Slam title, will open against Slovenian Polona Hercog, with a possible quarter-final against 2017 U.S. Open victor Sloane Stephens in the second week.

'I'm going to play. Been in a lot of pain for 20 months now.

"I'm not sure I'm able to play through the pain for another four or five months", he said.

Three-time grand slam victor Andy Murray has a tough clash with 22nd-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut as he returns from a hip injury. He then became emotional and left the room for several minutes to compose himself.

Men's second seed Rafael Nadal opens against Australian James Duckworth, fourth seed Alexander Zverev starts against Slovenian Aljaz Bedene, and last year's runner-up Marin Cilic plays another local in Bernard Tomic.

'I need to have an end point because I'm just playing with no idea of when the pain will stop.

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'I said to them maybe I could get through this until Wimbledon, that is where I would like to stop playing but I am also not certain I am able to do that'.

Britain's Andy Murray runs to make a forehand return to Serbia's Novak Djokovic during a practice match on Margaret Court Arena ahead of the Australian Open.

"I'm in a better place than I was six months ago but I'm still in a lot of pain". Having the limitations and also the pain is not allowing me to enjoy competing or training'.

"That's something I'm seriously considering right now".

But the lack of a seeding has left him exposed to a challenging early draw, and he will have to battle past a tough first-round opponent in Spanish 22nd seed and former world number 13 Roberto Bautista Agut.

Men's top seed Djokovic, who was defending his title when he lost to Istomin, will first meet a qualifier in his bid for a record seventh Melbourne title and third Grand Slam crown in succession following wins at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

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