Australian OpenGrand SlamsRoger Federer

Australian Open Draw 2018: Federer Starts With Bedene

The Australian Open draw has just taken place and Roger will begin his title defence against Slovenian Aljaz Bedene in the first round. The draw was done electronically and you can see his projected opponents below.

Projected Opponents

  • Round 1: Aljaz Bedene
  • Round 2: Jan-Lennard Struff
  • Round 3: Richard Gasquet
  • Round 4: Milos Raonic / Sam Querrey
  • Quarter Final: David Goffin
  • Semi Final: Sascha Zverev / Novak Djokovic
  • Final: Rafael Nadal

Full .PDF draw

Thoughts on the Draw


Firstly, why are tournaments trying to turn Draws into some kind of spectacle that drags on and on? 😆 They've now started doing the draws on a computer behind closed doors which I don't really like either yet they still manage to make the whole thing last over an hour. Sad!

As for the draw, I think it looks ok on paper. The only match set in stone is Bedene and that's a very nice start for Roger as the Slovenian is solid but has no weapons to do any sort of damage. Should be a routine straight sets win which is ideal if it's a day match as it means I can go back to sleep 😀

Struff is the likely second-round opponent and he has a slightly bigger game thanks to his serve. He pushed Fed to a tie-break a couple of years back in Halle but again it's hard to see him offering much resistance. Up and comer Soon-woo Kwon is Struff's first-round opponent, I've never seen him play but based on his results and the fact he won the Wild Card Playoff surely gives him a chance of coming through.

The third round has Gasquet has the seeded opponent, the Frenchman has found a bit of form in Kooyong and is dangerous on his day but Roger has the wood on him given their H2H. So it's hard to see an upset; Gasquet definitely played the right way in Shanghai by being more attacking but I think conditions here suit Roger and a 3 or 4 set win is likely.

Into Round 4 and both projected opponents are in pretty poor form. Raonic looks like he's piled on a bit of timber after being out for a few months so I don't see him lasting the course. Querrey hasn't been playing well either since the US Open so Feliciano Lopez has a good shot against him in the first round with the Spaniard currently in the Sydney Quarter Finals.

The Quarters could then see Fed up against many peoples dark horse for the tournament David Goffin. The diminutive Belgian had a great end to last season beating Roger in London and he's started 2018 nicely too with some good wins at the Hopman Cup. He'll certainly be a big test given how well he moves and strikes the ball but a quicker surface is advantage Fed. Del Potro and Berdych are the other two names that stand out in that section. Juan Martin is going along nicely in Auckland at the moment and Berdych has played well down under before so it's an interesting quarter.

Sascha Zverev is the fourth seed and should he play to that label then Roger would meet him in the semifinals. That looks unlikely as it stands as Zverev is yet to make it past the 4th Round of a Slam but given the fact he's won two Masters 1000 he's probably due a breakthrough over Best of 5. Djokovic is also in this half but there are so many question marks around the elbow to really know what his chances are.

Should Fed make the final then Nadal is obviously the top seed on the other half. He's been having knee problems so I'm not sure what to expect. He bombed vs Gasquet in an Exho but then looked to be in good form for Tie Break Tens so he's hard to assess. We'll know a lot more once the first couple of rounds have played out as to how everyone is shaping up and I think the tournament is wide open so I'm looking forward to it.

What do you guys think of the draw? Could we see a first-time slam winner to kick of 2018?  Let me know in the comments.


Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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  1. well it might not be too bad. Raonic, Wawrinka and Djockovic might all be rusty, so who knows witch players will be left in Rogers half, come week 2

  2. Thanks for quick post Jon…draw looks decent for Roger. Can’t really complain since first 3 rounds are good way to easy Roger into the 2nd week. Goffin looks scary good, didnt lose any of his matches at hopman cup but he has to take out Delpo first.

    In my previous post I prayed for no NK, Delpo, Zverev and Djoker. My prayers arent answered at all. Nadal has relative soft draw all the way to semis. Doubt anyone in his section can do any damage. Only Nadal’s knees will be decide if he is to reach final this year. Question now, who is playing on 1st day – Roger?

      1. Tuesday start for Roger…likely will miss his first 2 matches 🙁 and ultimate jinx man Steve Tignor analysis putting Roger as fave to win. Why not Nadal since his draw is so much softer, cmon go out on a limb and put NK or even Dimitrov.

  3. Damm,Damm,not liking this draw at all.Del Potro possibly in the quarters although he has a tough route to get there.However if he plays like he did in Basle he will.Even if Fed beats him it will tire him out for the semis.Also Berdych in his quarter who looked very sharp in the tie break tens.Nadals draw on the other hand has those tennis giants such as
    Anderson,Carena Busta etc.Almost a replay of his 2017 American Open draw! As for his knees-well somehow I don’t think there will be a
    problem there.

      1. Haha, Jonathan, I like the draw too, in fact if Fed wasn’t in it I probably wouldn’t even be looking.

  4. Can’t complain too much.

    Only bummer is nadal’s section does look to be soft and as Dippy said, it will be more of whether his knees can carry him through

    1. Yeah interested to see how he goes, I think the tournament will get blown wide open one way or another, even though it’s already very much up for grabs.

  5. Reasonably fine draw. We’ll just have to go match by match, there are a lot of question about form surrounding a lot of the players, it’s a bit unpredictable really. We also shouldn’t put too much expectations or pressure on a now 36 year old Roger. In any case, hoping for a quality two weeks of tennis.

  6. Reasonable draw, all in all.
    We have to remember that Fed’s AO 2017 was brutal, with five potential top 10 players en route to the title. Thanks to Zverev it became four but still very tough.
    It’s all up to him. If he brings his A game to the AO, he has a very good chance for GS20.

    As for Nadal, it’s the same. If he’s fit he’ll go deep, if not there might be an upset. I don’t think that we get a rematch of AO 2017 but you can never know. We can’t compare the US Open draw to this one for two main reasons:
    1. Murray completly screwed the draw, placing Fedal at the same half of the draw, thus creating a much weaker half after his withdrawl.
    2. Nadal wasn’t that lucky on the draw with potential Dimitrov/Goffin in the QF, Fed in SF and Murray/Zverev in the championship match. He was lucky that Rublev, DelPo, Murray and that chaotic half of the draw did the job for him and arranged a nice clean passage to the title without any top 25 encounter. If Roger was playing his best tennis or close to that, we wouldn’t think that Rafa’s draw was so easy, meeting with the de-facto 2nd seed on SF.

    Having said all that, I think that the first couple of matches seem reasonable for Roger. After that- who knows? I have a feeling that we’re all focusing way too much on the big names and others will surprise us and make an unpredictable tournament.
    Given his performance at the Hopman Cup, Roger is the clear favourite, but being the favourite is not an easy task.

  7. Thanks for the quick post, Jonathan.

    Does the winner of last year (Fed) play on Day 1 – ie Monday Jan 15 or does the Seed 1 (Nadal) open the show that day and Fed would then play on Tuesday Jan 16 ? Is it the same “rule” every year ? (In Roland-Garros, the winner of the year before plays on Day 1).

    1. They don’t do that at RG, they start on Sunday in Paris. Fed played Lacko opening Sunday in 2014. Whereas Nadal who was who was defending played Monday, on Lenglen!

      Wimbledon is the only Slam where the defending champions opens play on Centre Court on Day 1.

      Order of play not decided yet. Depends on few things I think, maybe even how Auckland / Sydney play out…

  8. Well yes of course we have to be happy every match Fed plays as it is so incredible he is playing so well at his age.But then he is who he is!
    I still think DP is a big threat,Steaming ahead to a victory in Auckland,no injury,a slam winner etc.Can Goffin beat him?We have to hope so.
    As for Berdych I don’t know.He seems to have his personal life sorted and perhaps that will let him play with more freedom.He has the game but like Cilic the choking is the problem.I think this AO has the potential to be fascinating and really exciting.djokovic first round,Tiafoe I think,that could be interesting,the young ones don’t carry the mental
    Baggage with them.

  9. SAme old same old. Fedfans panicking, Rafa fans laughing. One match at a time for me but I will say this. I see quite a few retirements in 1st week. Many players going in half fit. Oh yes, and I hv called a NK/RF final! ???? Go Fed!

  10. A decent draw. Thanks Jonathan for your quick post. Rog will take care of those guys. I am praying for him to stay healthy throughout the campaign, considering what happened at the WTF in London last year.
    This is indeed an interesting AO with many of top dogs with question marks hanging over their bodies. I just hope that Rog stays focused and that court conditions stay the same.
    Allez Rog!

  11. According to RF website Roger playing on Sunday. Djo very quiet and he was too good a player not
    to come back. Nadal’s knees don’t seem to be slowing him down so C’mon Roger be lucky x

  12. An Kyrgios – Federer final would be an interesting one. 5 tiebreak sets probably, and a number of outbursts.
    I think it’s a tough draw but better than 2017s, except this year Djokovic is on Federer’s side. I do not think Nadal will be hampered by his knees, although Djokovic would be rusty. In any case someone like Djokovic is special and can raise his game after a long break, like Federer did last year. I was watching that 2016 SF between Djokovic and Federer today, and tactically it’s just hard to see how Federer can consistently hold serve against such a good returner – no free points.

    Anyway one match at a time, there will always be surprises . I do think Del Potro will get through to the QF he seems to be in good form and healthy.

      1. Ah that is good to hear. Hopefully the courts are like last year, fast and slick. 2016 it was still fairly quick, but 2017 was faster.

        If they are like the Perth ones that Federer played on at the exhibition, that would be great…

  13. Can someone please fucking explain why Nadal hasn’t been given a wild card directly to the final? I mean, what’s the fucking point of this draw?

      1. I think, this is another contract. Fed comes alive to the final whatever the draw. For Fed to have opportunity to beat Rafa once more, Rafa miust come somehow to the same point, so rather a Fedal contract 😉

  14. The way they tried to make something out of this ‘live draw’ is ridiculous. I thought they were going to ask Roger to actually seeds out of a hat. Instead it was a very ordinary interview and staffers were doing the draw in the background. What’s the point of broadcasting it live??

    Other than Goffin/Delpo in his quarter, the draw doesn’t look too bad for me. I’m more annoyed at Nadal’s yet again cakewalk draw. I start to wonder if some people are just lucky or indeed draws are programmed – how hard is it to add a few lines of codes such as “no #17 seed with #1 seed before semis”?

    No day match in Round 1 please as I’ve got night session tickets! I went through the bottom half and I don’t think any other match warrants a night match or will bring in more cash than Fed’s

    1. Yeah waste of time. Join us live at XXam for the draw, but after all the stupid intros an hour as almost passed.

      I think it will be a night session too. Works for me 🙂

  15. Nice lookin jeans, Roger. Nike?

    The threats seem to be Delpo, Goffin, Zverev, Djoker….oh wait….they are on in the bottom half.
    Sid, we have NK, Dimi to take out Nadal. I have a feeling one of the young guys will get on a roll.

    Too many unknowns, fitness of Djoker, Stan, Raonic. Looking forward to some exciting matches!

  16. Decent draw for Roger and as always I hope he wins it all. I took a gamble that he plays first round on Tuesday night being the second seed and bought those tickets. Really hope and pray it works out that way.

  17. Its a good draw coz he’ in the draw… 🙂 I want to have a feeling like last year that has no pressure. Can he do that right now??? I hope so..

    I’m more concern if he will face Del potro… As for djokovic he’s a tough customer. always. if he did a good job conditioning his body we can expect that he will do good to Australian open.

    And for our Fed. He did a good job beating zverev. maybe a little polish for his backhand and drop shot. but overall I cannot say anything. I hope the court would be like last year inregards to bounce and speed,… here we go!!

    1. I can’t see Djoker really competing for the title, injury woes too close to the tournament I think. Last year Fed had a great prep as he could obviously train flat out in Nov, Dec.

      1. hopefully you’re right.. his serve is kinda odd right now. maybe because of hid elbow,

  18. Have you all seen Roger’s “smoldering intensity” (American spelling?) on his twitter feed? This man is too adorable.
    No idea what will happen next week. It depends which Roger we get – the one who can’t get the ball over the net or the one who can’t do anything wrong and plays with magic.
    I’m inclined to consider watching replays (only if he wins) for the sake of my health.
    If he gets Goffin, he will want to get his revenge, I think.
    Delpo – who knows? Nadal – will he even be there?
    As Jonathan said above, the draw usually goes to pieces as the players knock each other out.

    1. I think Nadal will play no problem, probably got himself in good shape now by missing Brisbane so raring to go. Maybe Grigor can go one better this year.

  19. Thanks for the draw analysis, Jonathan. Tough half for sure, but not as deadly as Zverev and Novak’s quarter, (I know in the same half…) Sorry but I’m discreetly hoping they bravely kill each other and heroically wound before get to our Fed 😆
    Meanwhile, he just plays with free spirit and the magic wand, I hope. Allez!

  20. Fed for #20? Good post, Jon thanks. Draw seems to be good for Roger. I think a final can be very likely.
    Hey Jon, if you don’t mind, you wrote 2019 instead of 2018. Here is the sentence with the typo. (The Quarters could then see Fed up against many peoples dark horse for the tournament David Goffin. The diminutive Belgian had a great end to last season beating Roger in London and he’s started 2019 nicely too with some good wins at the Hopman Cup.)
    So I don’t know about Nadal or his condition but I think that in his half, there could be a different contender for the final.

  21. I am somewhat surprised that the majority see this as a good draw for Federer,I think it is anything but! plus we now know that Feds half will be playing second,so he will lose what may be a vital days rest.We shall see.

    1. Agree, shame he starts Tuesday and not Monday . Thanks to this stupid scheduling it means one player has a whole extra day rest (of course it didn’t hurt last year…)
      I agree with Sid above, I don’t know how Nadal somehow gets repeatedly simple draws, compare to the US Open 2017 apart from Del Potro/Fed in the semifinals.. Yes Kyrgios is there, but he’s just as likely to lose in the 2nd round after throwing a tantrum. Fed’s side is clearly the loaded one.

      Just hope the court is fast again otherwise it will be more video game tennis.

      1. Fed will lose this day of rest together with his opponent for the round 4. and QF (if he goes that far). This will be Delpo or Goffin, so maybe better to lose earlier? S.-Kwon in round 2.? Sorry, Seppi cannot serve, is in another half of the draw 😉
        But seriously – they should offer oldies free choice of where to be in the draw, whom, where and what time to play, give them extra 2 free days after every round. Let them finish the tournament in 4 weeks, while others spend 2 weeks on Maledives or Bahamas, ha, ha, ha … not funny?

  22. @PRF,
    I am sorry but I don’t quite understand the point that you are making.The day off goes to the finalist who played 1st.Last
    year it was Fed and very glad he was of it I am sure.This year it will be whoever reaches the final in Nadals half of the draw.

    1. @Annie,
      Now I don’t understand your point 😉 I didn’t know the rule (???) you are talking about. How should it work if the one who played first last year, does not play at all the current year?
      In any case, so far I understand well the tournament schedule, the difference of having additional day off or not, does come after round 3. where players from the half of a draw, which played first (starting Monday) have day off between round 3. and 4. while players from the other half have it not.
      But the equality of chances remains, because all matches until the final are played among players of the same half of a draw, right? If so, how should it be unfair? In the round 4. (played by a half of field without day off before (but Fed will for sure play in the night session, so his time for rest will be by some hours longer than of those, who will play round 4 in day session. In any case, whoever Fed’s opponent in round 4, will be in the same position, namely without day off.
      Where I’m wrong?

      1. Sorry, my mistake. You think about the difference for the final, right? If Fed reaches the final, will have 1 day rest between semi and final, while the other (whoever) will have 2 days rest. Well, first make the final 😉 There are so many factors we cannot predict. Maybe the one having 2 days rest (you assume, it will ne Nadal, right? If so, he may have to play the semi against Kyrgios or Dimitrov and it can go over 5 sets, while Fed can get maybe Thiem or Zverev. Does he need 1 day rest more after beating one of them?
        Well, it”s too much speculations, isn’t it?

  23. @PRF,
    Yes,your second response is correct.Of course who reaches the fortunate situation of 2 days rest has an advantage.
    As you say it is obviously speculation to predict this.As I have said I believe the quarter finals will be Feds biggest test.However as those of us posting here support and admire Federer it is obviously that we wish him every help he can get and the draw and scheduling play a very important part in this.

    1. @Annie
      I’m on the same side, of course. The only difference is maybe, I’m relying only on Fed’s game. On some level everyone can lose to everyone and there are some besides Fed, so … not possible to skip every challenge 😉
      At least the weather seems to be on his side. Sunny Tuesday 20°C better than cold and rainy Monday (even if Fed always plays Center Court or at least Margaret, so in case of rain, he hes no delays, eventually playing under roof.
      I just watched parts of replay of Delpo losing to Agut in Auckland. Delpo not at his best. Will come to Melbourne a bit fatigued and maybe not such a threat we could fear. It’s for me rather Goffin, who’s win in London was for sure some turning point. He’s now smiling more, has more confidence and … maybe just found a key to Roger’s game.
      As for my experience in following tennis, the story with one day less rest for one of finalists, was never a key to the final win. In the final you use all you have and even more. And the opposite of being more fresh after 2 days rest is to be better in rhythm after only one day rest 🙂

  24. Does anyone know what the BBC coverage is going to be this year? I’ve looked at the first few days and there doesn’t seem to be any – or did they start with their highlights hour partway through last year? Are they going back to just showing the odd semi and final or – heaven forbid – not showing anything at all?

    1. Hello Alison, I don’t think the BBC covers the slams or even the other ATP matches. I bought Eurosport and Tennis TV for the year and it has been worth every penny. I
      watch on a PC and/or Ipad.

      1. Thanks, Jon. I tried replying yesterday, but the reply got swallowed up by the system.

        And I cant watch online because I don’t had the bandwidth, so … 🙁

  25. @PRF,
    Yes I agree with what you say,the extra days rest could be not quite the gift it seems.Pleasantly surprised when I saw the Auckland result.I saw BA play DP at Basle and it was a very close match.BA is going to be trouble for someone,he has the Spanish tenacity and doesn’t seem to to tire .In form,confident,perhaps a quarter final?He is in
    Novaks quarter I think?
    As for Goffin I don’t know about him over 5 sets.Fed slaughtered him in Basle,it was embarrassing to watch!That WTF was weird,don’t know what to make of it.Fed seemed quite happy to have lost.Weird.I think Goffin is a very fine player and seems like a very nice man as well.If Fed has to loose it is better if it is to someone like him.

    1. Yeah – Agut can be a threat for many, but he fails often on big points. Not this time in Auckland. And Delpo was not on his best (will probably not be at AO too), so I rather expect Fed to play Goffin in QF.
      Yes, David is a fine player and very nice and humble guy.
      I think, in London David decided to go for a risk and, just like he told a kind of kidding before the match, he finally found a key to defeat Fed. Fed may have looked happy because of the winning person but not because of losing – he “planned” to win London. So, David could be a real danger in QF. He got a big confidence boost in London and is now so relaxed as never before (one could see this at Hopman). Maybe some big breakthrough for him this year. I hope too, the one from them who wins, will meet another fine player and nice guy – Dominic Thiem 🙂

  26. @Jonathan,
    The Auckland result was a very pleasant surprise especially as DP had a straightforward semi against Ferrer and BA
    a tremendous 3 tiebreak tussle with Haase.
    Regarding Berdych ,Perhaps issue was too strong a word.He has the most gorgeous wife and seems very happy.Considering the various
    Tennis disappointments he has had a strong personal life is vital.Look at our Rog and Mirka!

  27. Perhaps winning becomes a habit.If so we need to watch Goffin and Dimitrov.I like both so will be happy if they do.I
    also like Theim very much but feel that he needs to change his coach to develop his game more.I also like Zrevev
    although many do not.

    1. About Thiem and if he needs to change the coach, you can read on my blog. He just has a kind of changed. Bresník remains mastercoach for off-season preparations and on bigger events (slams, masters), but the main travelling coach is now Galo Blanco, who’s Barcelona-based Academy take also care of Rublev (Fernando Vicente). I think this to be the right move. Skills basics will continue with Bresnik but tournaments support comes from Galo Blanco, who was himself a professional player. Thiem has complete skills for every shot, fitness, movement a.s.o. What he misses is some tactics. This is something, Bresnik does not care about (maybe because never being a player himself). And he has now another important supporter – he’s in love with Kiki Mladenovic and they even train a bit together (I mean TENNIS ;). With so many motivation and confidence booster he should be able to win all those dramatically lost matches from 2017).
      BTW: just watching meteo for Melbourne. Not that bad for Roger. If the forecast holds, he will first skip the biggest heat on Friday and then twice the rain (not so vital, because he will play everything on Center Court, I think, but Margaret and Hisense have roofs too).

    1. Thiem told after practicing both on outside courts and main courts (Rod Laver, Margaret), that outside courts are fast like a hell, but main courts are not that fast. How fast, we will see when matches start.

  28. Very interesting regarding Theim.I am sure that his strength and strokes are fine but tactically he can make mistakes-although who can’t!Perhaps his scheduling needs a bit to be be desired.

  29. Hey guys, prediction time:
    * Roger to win AO 2018. BOOM. Called it. Nailed it. #youhearditherefirst. He “practised” with the court during Hopman Cup and he looked very good and sharp and eventhough an exho, not in the mood to lose. So he will definitely want to defend his big title (the one that started it all last year).
    * Rafa with the simplest possible draw ever will still not make it to the final. Probably lose early.
    * David Goffin will be “trashed” by Roger if they meet. Roger has one very good quality. He remembers who beat him and he will want revenge.
    * Delpo to play lights out tennis against Roger if they meet, because….. well…. why not??
    * Stan, eventhough some think he will lose early, will maybe get far because he has a point to prove.
    * The big surprises will be Kyrgios and Tiafoe I think.

    Oh and to show that I can be fair…. I hear Djoko has a very tough draw. If he wins the title by playing fair and not using tactics… then good for him….kudos…. will be deserved 🙂

    So… going for 20… but still taking it one match at the time 🙂 #dutchpeoplearecrazy

  30. Well Nadal may win the whole thing what with his easy draw getting even easier with the seeds falling like-well seeds.But what he will not win is any prizes for his truly ghastly outfit.The screaming pink,shoes ,shorts and huge headband plus the stupid tea shirt so that we can all swoon at his huge muscles.My reaction in one word,ycch.If there is such a word!

    1. Don’t know, what do you mean with strength? Thiem is not a muscle-pack like Rafa. His strokes are fast, and perfectly prepared, which is another approach to hit hard. Fed is also hitting hard, even if it does not look like this, but his approach is once more different – he takes balls very early, with short swing and short follow-through, so he can use the power of the coming ball, not using so much own strength.
      If you had read Bresnik’s book about Thiem, you would know about some exotic principles of his teaching. Maybe because he never was a pro player. It calls “tactics is nothing, clean hard shots is everything”. So you can often see Thiem finishing at the net with topspin rather than with volley, while a good dropshot would be a 100% winner. This is I expect Galo Blanco to teach Dominic, to use more often “softer” options and not to try to hit winners all the time, because he is still better in longer rallies involving hard shots, but he needs more angles, more serve&volley, since he has improved a lot his serve (no more always kick serve, but always flat and very fast serve) If his wide out serve sits, he should finish 90% of points at the net with soft placed balls, where they are beyond the reach of the opponent. Sorry for writing so much about Thiem here, but you all know everything about Fed, while not so much about Thiem 😉

    2. I think, Grigor wins this half. Or Kyrgios. Or Shapovalov. Or Rublev. Seeds are vanishing from this nhalf but there are still some guys able to stop Rafa. But I think at the same time, Grigor would be more dangerous for Fed than Rafa, so maybe better, Rafa reaches the final?

    3. Please tell me it’s not worse than Kyle Edmund’s outfit? (Described earlier today as doing a good impression of a Liquorice Allsort)

  31. BTW – given Rod Laver is told to be rather slow, Thiem would like to offer a deal of court exchange, so Roger can play on faster outside court and Thiem on a slower big arena (all 3 are told to be a lot slower than outside courts.

  32. Yes,the court speed is interesting,the amount of time Nadal had on the ball today,albeit against a plucky but not very difficult opponent suggests a slower court.We won’t know until the maestro plays tomorrow for an assessment as he sees it.

  33. @Alison,
    Have not seen Karl Edmunds outfit,which sounds rather fortunate.What is it with all this pink?A horrid colour at the best of times.Fed looked good though.The pink screams hot and bothered,the white cool and calm.Lets hope that is reflected in the playing.

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