Eight-time champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia was named top seed, while Spain’s Rafael Nadal was seeded No. 2 in his quest for a record 21st grand slam title, when the Australian Open draw was announced Friday.
The annual opening grand slam event of the year, held at Melbourne Park, is slightly delayed in 2021 as a precaution because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will begin Monday and run through Feb. 21.
The top four seeds followed ATP rankings with Dominic Thiem of Austria seeded third and Daniil Medvedev of Russia seeded fourth. No. 5-ranked Roger Federer will skip the tournament after two operations on is right knee last year.
The remaining top 10 seeds include: No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, No. 6 Alexander Zverev of Germany, No. 7 Andrey Rublev of Russia, No. 8 Diego Schwartzman of Argentina, No. 9 Matteo Berrettini of Italy and No. 10 Gael Monfils of France.
Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland, the 2014 champion, is the No. 17 seed.
Djokovic is the defending champion, defeating Thiem in a five-set final last year. Djokovic has won each of the past two titles in Australia and his eight titles Down Under are a record.
Djokovic opens with a first-round meeting with Jeremy Chardy of France and is lined up to potentially face Thiem in the semifinals.
Nadal, who last won the Australian Open in 2009, is set to face Laslo Djere of Serbia in the first round.
The top-seeded player from the United States is Taylor Fritz at No. 27. An American has not won the Australian Open since Andre Agassi in 2003.
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–Field Level Media