Federer, Nadal placed in same half of Australian Open draw

London: Twenty-three times Grand Slam champion Roger Federer and Spanish tennis ace Rafael Nadal are in the same half of the Australian Open draw. The top seed of the tournament Novak Djokovic, on the other hand, has got Alexander Zverev of Germany in his draw.

While Federer will play his opening match of the tournament against Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin, second seed Nadal will take on Australia’s James Duckworth in his first round.

The defending champion, while talking about the tournament draws, said that his focus is on his first round and is not putting too much pressure on himself with the thought of defending the title.

“The moment that you find out the draw before you play, you shift your focus to the first round – and not considering whether you can win a seventh title. You simplify your preparations. I can’t believe I won the past two titles, so in a way that has to be the goal, but I’m not putting too much pressure on myself,” WTA quoted Federer, as saying.

When asked about the evolution of his game in recent years, Federer admitted that Djokovic and Nadal challenged him time and again adding that it has helped him improve as a player.

“Novak challenged me time and time again. I played him in his absolute prime when he was virtually unbeatable. It was important not to get frustrated. We’re both naturally aggressive players.,” Federer said.

“Novak, Rafa and others have made me rethink my game, change my game style. My racquet switch, enabling me to become more aggressive on my backhand, probably helped me win the title two years ago too,” he added.

Federer stands a chance to equal Djokovic’s open era record by winning his third consecutive Australian Open title.

Australian Open is slated to be held from January 14 to 27 in Melbourne, Australia.