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Nadal, Halep announced as Top seeds at Australian Open

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The world’s top 100 men and 98 women are confirmed for Australian Open 2018. Reigning champion Serena Williams (USA) is anticipated to return after giving birth to her first child in September. She also has an eye on the record books as she begins her campaign for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles and seventh Australian Open title.

New world No.1 Simona Halep (ROU) and sixteen-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal will be top seeds in Melbourne.

The all-star player field will also feature the return of Novak Djokovic (SRB), Andy Murray (GBR), Kei Nishikori (JPN) and Stan Wawrinka (SUI).

Missing from the women’s draw are No.12 Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) who withdrew following wrist surgery and Saisai Zheng (CHN) with a continuing right knee injury.

Players expected to use protected rankings include Queensland’s John Millman (AUS), Ricardas Berankis (LTU), Andreas Haider-Maurer (AUT) and Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN).

On the women’s side Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER), Margarita Gasparyan (RUS) and Kristina Kucova (SVK) will enter on protected rankings.

Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley is looking forward to welcoming the world’s best players to Melbourne in January.

“We have yet another strong field for Australian Open 2018 led by new world number one Simona Halep and former champion Rafa Nadal.

“Last year’s tournament broke all of the records and we look forward to welcoming back new mum Serena [Williams] as she attempts to equal Margaret Court’s 24 Grand Slams.

“We are definitely a family friendly event and many players including reigning champion Roger Federer travel with their children to Melbourne so we remain optimistic that she will return.

“We have been in regular contact with Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori and Stan Wawrinka, who are all set for the Aussie summer. They will all have lower rankings meaning there’s a real chance we’ll finally see a breakthrough from one of the rising stars like Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem or David Goffin.

“The player facilities have been extensively upgraded with a new hub located within Rod Laver Arena. New player services for 2018 include a fully underground drop-off area with two new entry points as well as all services centralised to make it even easier to cater for players’ needs,” Tiley continued.

There will be 16 male qualifiers and 12 female qualifiers added to each draw, along with eight wildcards.