LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 14: Roger Federer of Switzerland shakes hands with Novak Djokovic of ... [+] Serbia after beating him during Day Five of
Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, who have combined to win 12 of the last 14 Australian Open titles, were drawn to meet in the semifinals this year when the draw was released Thursday evening.
World No. 1 Rafael Nadal, meantime, faces another tricky draw that could include mercurial Australian Nick Kyrgios in the fourth round and two-time French Open runner-up Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinals.
Federer, 38, enters as the all-time men’s leader in Grand Slam titles with 20, but Nadal, 33, has 19 and would tie Federer by winning his second title Down Under. Djokovic, 32, is third with 16 majors and hot on the heels of both men. Federer acknowledged in a recent interview with AP that he figures both Nadal and Djokovic will eventually surpass him.
“I think the way it’s going, obviously, Rafa and Novak will win more,” Federer told the AP in Dubai, “because they’re that good. And the season they had (in 2019), again, shows that there is more to come for them.”
In the top half of the draw, Nadal has yet another tough draw, including a potential matchup with No. 24 Kyrgios in the fourth round. Kyrgios, who will be playing in a home country ravaged by bush fires, has won two of his three meetings with the Spaniard on hard courts.
In the quarters, Nadal could meet No. 26 Thiem or Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, the No. 20 seed.
No. 4 seed Daniil Medvedev, who fought Nadal in an epic five-setter in last year’s U.S. Open final, looms as a potential semifinal opponent for Nadal.
Medvedev, who went 59-21 with four titles last year, has his own obstacles. He could face 2014 Australian Open champ Stan Wawrinka in the fourth round and No. 7 Alexander Zverev in the quarters.
In the bottom half of the draw, No. 2 Djokovic opens against against 37th-ranked Jan-Lennard Struff, the big German whom Djokovic beat in the fourth round of last year’s French Open.
Djokovic, who crushed Nadal in straight sets in last year’s final, could face Greek sensation Stefanos Tsitsipas, the No. 6 seed, in the quarters one year after the Greek upset Federer in that round.
No. 3 Federer begins against big-serving American Stevie Johnson, ranked No. 81, and could face No. 18 Grigor Dimitrov, who stunned Federer in the U.S. Open quarterfinals, in the fourth round and ball-crushing Italian Matteo Berrettini, the No. 8 seed, in the quarters.