Nadal starts defence of Australian Open title against rising Briton Draper

© LP/Arnaud Journois

Rafael Nadal will begin the defence of his Australian Open crown against the fast-rising Briton Jack Draper while the top seed in the women's draw, Iga Swiatek, launches her quest for a first crown in Melbourne against the unseeded German Jule Niemeier.

Draper, 21, who went from 262 to 40 in the world during 2022, will take on the 36-year-old Spaniard for the first time at Melbourne Park.

"It'll be amazing to play on court with him, he's a great champion," Draper said. "I want to play really well and I want to compete hard and do the best I can."

Nadal, top seed in the absence of the injured world number one Carlos Alcaraz, will be seeking a record-extending 23rd Grand Slam singles title.

Fourth seed Novak Djokovic will be in the hunt for his 22nd major crown and a record-extending 10th title in Australia.

He will play the unseeded Spaniard Roberto Carballes in the first round.

Women's line-up

The women's second seed Ons Jabeur, who on Wednesday revealed she would take a leading part in a players' union, will pit her wits against Tamara Zidanšek from Slovenia.

The French number one Caroline Garcia will play the Canadian qualifier Katherine Sebov.

Thirteen Frenchmen will contest the first round. The country's top man, Adrian Mannarino, will face the big serving American John Isner and Quentin Halys, ranked 64th in the world, will vie for a place in the second round against the third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.


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