The Australian Open draw for 2020 has just taken place in Melbourne with play starting on Monday 20th of January.
With 2000 points on offer, a prestigious Grand Slam trophy and $71 million in total prize money there's plenty to play for all 128 players in the draw, none more so than Federer who is looking for his 21st Grand Slam title at the ripe old age of 38. Can he do it?
You can see his projected opponents below:
Roger Federer's Projected Opponents
- Round 1: Steve Johnson
- Round 2: Filip Krajinovic
- Round 3: Hubert Hurkacz
- Round 4: Denis Shapovalov / Grigor Dimitrov
- Quarter Final: Matteo Berrettini / Fabio Fognini
- Semi-Final: Novak Djokovic
- Final: Rafael Nadal
Thoughts on the Draw
First up for Roger is Steven Johnson who's seen his ranking slip in recent years after hitting a career-high of 21 in 2016.
The American is the stereotypical college player with a big serve and forehand, but the gaping hole in his game is the backhand which is wholly reliant on the slice.
Federer has played Johnson twice before, once on outdoor hardcourt in Indian Wells which was a two tie break set win for Swiss, the other on the grass at Wimbledon, again in straight sets.
Based on that, it's hard to look past anything but a comfortable win here. Johnson is currently playing a Challenger in Bendigo and made the Quarter Finals in Canberra last week and has some matches under his belt compared to Roger's zero warmup approach.
However, given the weakness in his game, and having lost in the first round in Melbourne for the last two years, I make Roger a firm favourite.
Round two will either be a Qualifier or Filip Krajinovic. The Serb was in good form at the backend of last year during the indoor swing making the final in Stockholm, and he gave Roger a tough time in Basel two years ago winning a set.
Krajinovic also made the third round in Melbourne last year so I can see him being a tricky customer should the two meet.
The problem for Filip will be keeping up it up over five sets, in short spells he can look dangerous as he takes the ball early and hits well of both wings. However, he only has one win against a top 10 opponent, and that was thanks to Djokovic retiring at the Serbian Open in 2010, so his record against the elite isn't the best.
The third round has Hubert Hurkacz as the seeded opponent, and he's made a solid start to 2020, winning all three of his singles matches at the ATP Cup and is currently on course to make the semi-finals over in Auckland.
Federer met the Pole for the first time last year in Indian Wells, winning 6-4, 6-4 and he played him smartly, mixing up his pace to keep Hurkacz guessing and killing his rhythm, but it's an intriguing third round against a form player should it happen.
Into the last sixteen and Denis Shapovalov is the top seed in the section, with Dimitrov the next best. The Candian beat Zverev and Tsitsipas at the ATP Cup before moving onto Auckland where he lost to Ugo Humbert who is also in this section of the draw.
Shapovalov's game is one that's deadly when he has a hot hand but bang average on his off days so it will be interesting to see if he can string three good matches together over the first seven days of the tournament.
Dimitrov is Dimitrov, but he played ok at the ATP Cup and had his best slam performance in Melbourne taking Nadal to the wire in the 2017 semi-final so if he can summon some of that form he can be dangerous.
Along with Humbert, the much-touted Jannik Sinner is also in this section, along with John Millman who will compete even harder given he's on home soil, so it's fairly wide open.
For the quarters, the other section is quite soft in terms of opposition, with Matteo Berrettini as the top seed. He's been recovering from an abdominal injury since the ATP Finals which makes his preparation a bit unknown.
The Italian did, however, get a couple of matches in over at the Kooyong Classic, so he's perhaps a marginal favourite to make the last eight given the fact Fognini, Coric, Raonic and Pella have not looked in great form based on the little tennis we've seen so far this year.
As for the semi-finals, Djokovic is in the same half as Roger along with Tsitsipas and Bautista-Agut, and he's a firm favourite to make the last four. Hopefully, Dan Evans can give him a game in Round Three.
Nadal is the top seed in the other half and has Kyrgios, Khachanov and Thiem all in his quarter. Medvedev, Stan and Zverev are in the second quarter along with Rublev who is so far unbeaten in 2020, so I think that's the more exciting half.
Interesting First Round Matches
- Daniil Medvedev vs Frances Tiafoe
- Sam Querrey vs Borna Coric
- Kyle Edmund vs Dusan Lajovic
- Reilly Opelka vs Fabio Fognini
- Marin Cilic vs Corentin Moutet
- Juan Ignacio Londero vs Grigor Dimitrov
What do you guys think of Federer's draw? Predictions? Let me know in the comments.