Published On: Thu, Jan 11th, 2018

Australian Open 2018 draw LIVE: Latest as Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova host

Federer was a No 17 seed last year, having dropped down the rankings after six months off, but will come in as No 2 and defending champion this time around.

There is a sleeper in the men’s draw though – Novak Djokovic had elbow surgery in the second half of 2017 and will likely be named as 14th seed in the men’s singles draw.

In the women’s singles, Sharapova will be a dangerous first-round opponent for any player and she comes without the protection of a seeding.

The Russian is playing her first Australian Open since 2016 when she failed a drugs test, giving a positive result for meldonium, for which she was then handed 15-month ban.

Express Sport brings you all the latest action from Melbourne, where the draw is being made ahead of the tournament’s January 15 start.

Australian Open 2018 draw LIVE

8.20am: Maria Sharapova is in now. She is a somewhat controversial presence tonight, the world No 47. Odd to say that isn’t it?

8.15am: Potential spoiler early on. Victor Estrella Burgos looks like Rafael Nadal’s opening opponent but that is unconfirmed as yet.

8.10am: Federer hates draws. Who knew? If I were Federer, I probably wouldn’t be that bothered. But anyway, there you go.

The Swiss is doing an interview with Hamish McLachlan. Talking about last year, he thought he would get dumped out in the quarter-final or maybe the semi-finals. (Of course, he didn’t.) Um, this could go on for a while.

8.05am: On the British front by the way, Kyle Edmund is the only man in the singles draw after Cameron Norrie was knocked out of the qualifying tournament earlier today.

In the women’s singles, if Naomi Broady can make her way through qualifying, it will take the British count at the tournament to four.

Federer is out now, bringing with him the Australian Open trophy.

8am: Here we go then. If football draws are anything to go by, this could take ages before the first cat is even out of the bag…

7.45am: Bright and early it is for us! This, ladies and gentlemen, is the pleasure of the Australian tennis season. Roger and Maria are swanning along to the 7pm evening do in Melbourne while I wheeled myself out of bed at five o’clock this morning to ensure I could be here with out to come through it.

Some intriguing potential early clashes coming up in this Grand Slam. Exactly who and when? All will be revealed over the coming minutes. 8am start for us (7pm Melbourne time).

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