The uncertain status of top-ranked Novak
didn’t stop Australian Open organisers from listing him as the top
seed for the grand slam tournament beginning next Monday at Melbourne Park.

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As expected, homegrown talent and
top-ranked Ashleigh Barty was given the No. 1 seeding in the women’s singles
draw when the list was released on Tuesday. Defending champion Naomi Osaka is
seeded 13th.

Djokovic won a court battle to compete in
the Australian Open but still faces the threat of deportation because he is not
vaccinated against COVID-19. He is at level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal
with 20 grand slam singles titles each. A 10th Australian Open win on Jan. 30
in the men’s final would give him the men’s all-time record.

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Federer is not playing in Melbourne while
he continues his recovery from right knee surgery.

Daniil Medvedev, who beat Djokovic in the
US Open final last year to prevent the Serbian player from capturing a
calendar-year Grand Slam, is seeded second, followed by Alexander Zverev at No.
3, Stefanos Tsitsipas at No. 4 and Andrey Rublev at No. 5.

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seeded sixth

Nadal is seeded sixth, followed by Matteo
Berrettini. Felix Auger-Aliassime is at No. 9 and Denis Shapovalov 14th. The
pair combined to win the ATP Cup for Canada last Sunday.

Taylor Fritz leads the American men’s
contingent at No. 20, followed by John Isner at 22 and Reilly Opelka at 23. Alex
de Minaur is the only Australian man among the seeded players, taking up the
32nd and last position.

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The 25-year-old Barty has two Grand Slam
singles titles — the 2019 French Open and last year’s Wimbledon — but she
dearly wants to win a major on home soil. No Australian woman has won the title
here since Chris O’Neill in 1978.

Barty’s best finish at Melbourne Park was
in 2020, when she lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Sofia Kenin. She
reached the quarterfinals last year.

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Barty won the Adelaide International title
last week while Sabalenka is off to a contrasting start, losing in the first
round of both her pre-Australian Open tune-up events. Garbiñe Muguruza will be
No. 3 seed, Barbora Krejcikova No. 4 and Maria Sakkari fifth. Kenin is the
top-seeded American at No. 11.