On Tuesday, the men’s Australian Open draw will be made and three former No. 1-ranked players — Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal — are all set to be among the top 16 in the order of play.
On the flip side, Serena Williams will miss the tournament while pregnant because of medical reasons.
Williams has returned to the tour this season after taking a brief break from tennis. She was a top seed at Wimbledon and is now ranked No. 14. But she and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, opted to have a baby, and now her schedule is reset.
What does that mean for Djokovic, Federer and Nadal? Well, they will still have to wait at least another year or so for a shot at a fifth Grand Slam. While Djokovic, 37, is ranked No. 2, Federer, 37, and Nadal, 31, are 1-2-3.
If the quarterfinals were held right now, then Djokovic, Federer and Nadal would be forced to play each other.
Federer and Nadal have already advanced, and both had their first-round matches concluded early on Tuesday. Djokovic needed just 65 minutes of work to beat South African qualifier Kevin Anderson 7-6, 6-2. It was the first Australian Open victory for the 12-time Grand Slam champion since 2016.
The No. 1 seed and defending champion, Rafael Nadal, is currently ranked No. 2 behind Djokovic. The 14-time Grand Slam champion made easy work of South African qualifier Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-2, 6-1. Kokkinakis, 23, was the first player ranked 200th or lower to face Nadal, who won a trio of French Open titles before losing in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Federer last year.
Federer was scheduled to play German qualifier Maximilian Marterer before stopping for the day. Marterer eliminated American John Isner, 6-3, 7-6 (3).
Top-ranked and French Open champion Simona Halep won her opening-round match, beating German qualifier Dasha Kalinina 6-1, 6-3. Second-ranked Caroline Wozniacki made light work of a tricky qualifier, beating Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-4. But seventh-ranked Petra Kvitova fell to fellow Czech Magdalena Rybarikova, 6-2, 6-4.
Australian Open favorite Caroline Wozniacki will next play Canadian qualifier Bianca Andreescu, who defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 6-3, 6-1.
Without Murray, world No. 1 Rafael Nadal, is taking time to mentally and physically prepare himself for his 20th Grand Slam and first at the Australian Open since 2014. He was the top seed in 2015, and took a six-month hiatus at the end of last season to recover from a knee injury.
Is the 2019 Australian Open a possible return date for Federer?
“I think maybe,” Federer said in a press conference in Sydney in February. “I’m just enjoying the tennis right now.”
Williams has made it clear that this might be her last season of the sport. Federer has said he has other passions. Djokovic just wrapped up a three-match tour of China.
Whether they manage to squeeze another Grand Slam in before their seasons are over remains to be seen.
Read the full story at Tennis.com.
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