Rafael Nadal, Halep named top seeds for Australian Open

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Both had appeared yesterday at the Kooyong Classic, Nadal losing to Richard Gasquet and Djokovic beating Dominic Thiem to reassure fans they were not planning on pulling out of the Australian Open.

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal withdrew from his first tour event of 2018, in Brisbane, with continuing knee problems, and is seeking match practice in a Melbourne exhibition event ahead of the January 15 start.

"It's their view and I've never needed the help of Tennis Australia to achieve what I've achieved in my career".

We are here to have look at the future stars and the ones who will dominate the court in times to come after the "Big Four" hang their boots.

That means they can only play each other if they set up a rematch of last year's final. "I didn't expect to play at this level in the first match of the year".

"I think it's normal because there's a lot of expectations this year", he was quoted as saying by the Australian Open website. Chris Kermode, executive chairman of the men's tour, the Association of Tennis Professionals, promised a shake-up, although he accepted the players' reasons for withdrawing.In a separate rule change created to get matches started more quickly, warm-up times will be strictly enforced. Those players are on the bottom half with second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, who is ranked inside the top two for the first time since 2012.

"I knew that I can not make it with only Futures so I had to step up my game and try to compete at a higher level", explains Maamoun.

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"I feel great, I was eager to get onto the court and play", the six-time Australian Open champion said.

The women's side of the draw is wide open, with Serena Williams announcing last week she will not be there to defend her crown despite demonstrating her fitness in an exhibition win over Jelena Ostapenko in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in December.

"I don't want to be over-confident but I'm very, very happy with the way it went today".

The draw for the year's first Grand Slam event took place on Thursday night in Melbourne. He withdrew from the 2017 ATP Finals in London due to a right knee injury.

Venus Williams, who lost the Australian final to her younger sister Serena past year, is seeded fifth.

The 16-time Grand Slam victor was far from his best in the exhibition encounter against a player he has beaten 15-0 on the ATP Tour in a rivalry dating back to junior days.

"I'll try to go day by day", Djokovic said.

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