Fall in rank­ings has Fed­erer seeded 17th at Aus­tralian Open

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

A long in­jury lay­off and a fall in the rank­ings have cre­ated a tough draw for 17-time Grand Slam win­ner Roger Fed­erer at the Aus­tralian Open.

Fed­erer slipped to No. 17 in the rank­ings this week af­ter Grigor Dim­itrov won the Bris­bane In­ter­na­tional and moved up to No. 15.

The Aus­tralian Open tends to stick with the rank­ings when its seeds 32 play­ers in each of the men’s and women’s 128-player sin­gles draws, mean­ing the 35year-old Fed­erer gets less pro­tec­tion than usual and could po­ten­tially face a top 10 player as soon as the third round.

The seed­ings were con­firmed by Aus­tralian Open or­ga­niz­ers yes­ter­day, on the eve of the draw for the sea­son-open­ing ma­jor which be­gins Mon­day in Melbourne.

Fed­erer has won the Aus­tralian Open four times, his first in 2004, and also reached the fi­nal in 2009, but he hasn’t won the ti­tle here since 2010.

He spent six months out of ac­tion last year fol­low­ing surgery on his left knee and fin­ished 2016 at No. 16, end­ing a year in which his record run of 65 Grand Slam ap­pear­ances ended when he couldn’t con­test the French Open. He also missed the U.S. Open.

He re­turned to ac­tion at the in­ter­na­tional mixed teams ex­hi­bi­tion at the Hop­man Cup in Perth last week.

As ex­pected, No. 1-ranked Andy Mur­ray is the top seed ahead of six-time Aus­tralian Open cham­pion No­vak Djokovic in the men’s draw and An­gelique Ker­ber, the reign­ing Aus­tralian and U.S. Open cham­pion, is the top seed in the women’s draw ahead of six-time cam­pion Ser­ena Wil­liams, who is seeded No. 2.

Wim­ble­don fi­nal­ist Mi­los Raonic is No. 3 in the men’s seed­ings, and U.S. Open cham­pion Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori, Gael Mon­fils, Marin Cilic, Do­minic Thiem, 14-time ma­jor win­ner Rafael Nadal and To­mas Berdych round out the top 10.

Nishikori, who lost the Bris­bane fi­nal in three sets to Dim­itrov last Sun­day, said hav­ing Fed­erer sit­ting lower in the list of seeds was bad for his ri­vals but good for the event.

"It’s not the best news for us, for sure. It’s a bit tough," he said yes­ter­day. "Rafa is also No. 9. We might have to play Rafa and Roger re­ally soon in the draw.

"It’s not the best if you play, but it’s great for the fans."

Fol­low­ing Ker­ber and Wil­liams in the list of top 10 women’s seeds are Ag­nieszka Rad­wan­ska, Si­mona Halep, Karolina Pliskova, Do­minika Cibulkova, Gar­bine Mugu­ruza, Svet­lana Kuznetsova, Jo­hanna Konta and Carla Suarez Navarro.

Roger Fed­erer won the Aus­tralian Open four times Photo: AP

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