Australian OpenRoger Federer

Australian Open Draw 2020: Federer in The Same Half as Djokovic

The Swiss will start his campaign against American Steve Johnson.

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

Full PDF printable draw

Thoughts on the Draw

Fed Ao 2020

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.

Fed Backhand Ao 2020

Interesting First Round Matches

  • Daniil Medvedev vs Frances Tiafoe
  • Sam Querrey vs Borna Coric
  • Kyle Edmund vs Dusan Lajovic

Upset Watch

  • 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.


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. If Roger could have picked a draw up to the semis this would probably have been it.
    If Roger is at AO 2017/18 level then on paper he makes the semis at least.

  2. Hoping Fed has a chance to go quite deep. Wondering how the heat will affect the players, though? We have a heat wave here in SA and I can only think it will be very hot conditions. Just so happy it is tennis time again. We couldn’t watch the ATP Cup and there was also no radio coverage that I could find, so it feels like I haven’t had tennis to watch or listen to in ages.

    1. Yeah I think the heat will be a factor for sure with some players. It looks very warm in SA from the cricket I’ve seen although bit cooler now with the rain in Port Elizabeth.

  3. An interesting draw, not too bad for Fed.
    Rather concerning about the conditions this year, heat (as usual)but also smoke pollution.
    Wont be able to watch any of this, but best wishes to Fed and his loyal fans.😀

    1. I think the smoke thing is getting blown out of proportion for the sake of some headlines. Even Fed said some of these players were probably affected by the heat, not the smoke. I think the tournament will go fine.

  4. Honestly quite a tricky draw a few landmines to reach semis and final. Roger is entering this tourney cold, my poor nerves. Best of luck Rog!!

  5. My opinion is that, out of the Top 3, he had the luckiest draw. Not by much, but Kyrgios and Thiem could be deadly for Rafa, Nole has Tsitsipas and a very underrated (IMHO) Schwartzy at the round of 16. Roger has some good competition but technically Dimitrov and Shapovalov are perfect match-ups for his tennis, if he’s in good shape he can easily dispose of them. He could find a very tired Nole and besides, if the conditions are fast, he can replicate the perfect game he played in London in November and make it to the final. Nole seemed to me in a good but not perfect shape in the ATP Cup, and only the very comfortable match-up (for him) against Rafa made him shine more, but Shapo, Medvedev and Anderson all gave him a run for his money.
    My biggest concern actually is none of the other two giants but Medvedev, which seems to me in top shape and has the easiest draw of the four by far, IMHO. If he wants to dethrone the Big 3, this is a perfect occasion to start.
    No idea at all on the surface condition or Roger’s shape, though. I am happy for the draw because he will have to give his best really only in semifinal and final, and we all know how difficult it has been for him since AO 18 to put two great matches in a row, but luckily he should need his very best only at the very end of the tournament. Still, Daniil scares me a lot.
    Let’s hope for the 21st!

    1. I thought Djoker looked great at the ATP Cup. Ultra clutch. If he is injury-free with elbow/shoulder then I make him big favourite. Nadal 2nd fave based on his level at Slams last year. Fed is prob joint third or fourth favourite.

  6. Not a bad draw for Roger! If he is in good shape all the matches are in his Racquet up to the semis. Then he needs to really show up his best, like in all GS. I‘m hoping for a good run in Melbourne 💪🏼


  7. I think he will go all the way. He loves Australia and who knows if this will be his last. There are one or two that may try to challenge him, but he’ll pull through, especially if he’s healthy. Roger starts slow, then improves. I always have faith in him after all, he is Roger Federer.
    I hope there are no problems with the wildfires affecting anything or anyone. Pray for Australia.

      1. Jajaja. He’s been playing great lately, and I’m afraid he’ll take advantage of Fed’s rustiness.
        But well, one match at a time.

  8. My biggest concern is the lack of match play. So much harder to play well in the first few rounds going in cold. The only player, I believe, not in a warm-up tournament. But, hey, maybe he is more hungry! Otherwise, the draw is decent. Djoker looks in good form. Nadal looked tuckered out at the ATP Cup. Father time catching up with him?

    What I find interesting is the Rally for Relief. The number 1 and 2 players in the world are there and who is the main attraction!
    NK, the Aussie, and the one with the idea was playing against what Serena called “the Goat”. Tee-hee.

    Off to the pharmacy to renew my heart and anxiety meds. Fed plays Monday.

    1. Looks a good draw on paper, but I do wonder about the various … variables – lack of competitive matches, air quality and so on. One round at a time …

    2. A quick look at the seeds and I think he is the only guy not to have played a match this season. Other than Berrettini if you discount Kooyong. Will be rusty for sure, but least he was there early, had well over a week of prepping in situ.

  9. A pretty good draw for Rog. It will be interesting to see who he will be facing at semi. Having said that, I never thought that Grigor would be able to beat him at the last year’s USO. Fingers crossed.

    1. We all know RF was injured during the Dimitrov match and Dimitrov was fresh courtesy of a walk over. As long as RF feels fresh and ready to go, it won’t be that easy for Dimitrov this time. Also, RF gives his absolute best at the AO after Wimb.
      I like RF’s draw on paper. He had a similar draw at USO18 and had he not got injured, he could have gone all the way. Same story here. Hoping RF is healthy and keeps up his form to the SF and Djoko missing out on the SF. I wouldn’t mind a Fed-Djoko SF but that’s a similar outcome as Fed-Nadal at RG.
      Let the games begin on Monday and we shall see.

      1. Given Djoker’s record in Melbourne as a whole, and against Fed there, it’s clearly a stronghold for him like Nadal’s Paris. Only taken 1 set in three meetings there since he beat him in 2007.

    2. Fed was injured vs Grigor. No excuses as he took to the court so was fit to play but look at Dimitrov’s results since, it was a win where he was simply good enough to take advantage like a lot of other guys in the top 50.

      And this is coming from a Dimitrov fan, but he’s flattered to deceive for too long. Never kicked on.

  10. Given he’s coming in cold I am looking at it very realistically. Anything past 4th round is a huge bonus. R3 is most interesting so far but it’s possible Hubi will ( luke many others) be weary by then. Quite a few are coming in over played. Nadal looked cooked in ATP and I am hopeful of Medvedev getting past him this time. Can’t see past ND but you never know…. Fed Plse or Daniil if not

    1. Yeah I am expecting rustiness and some sets dropped but we shall see. Johnson is a good first-round opponent, has some weapons but a few weaknesses to go with it. Will be able to test him for sure though having played two challengers already in Aus.

  11. Just wondering if it will make a difference to Fed or some of the other players if some or most of the matches are moved indoors or the roofs are kept closed?

  12. A draw is a draw. This one looks good to Fed. On other occasions he’s had tough ones. Since it’s random, complaints make no sense…
    Now: it should make for a good progression given his lack of preparation, except for that warmup set against Kyrgios played at about half the usual pace. He should be fine for the first 3 rounds.
    Nadal’s half seems to be tougher and he has shown some signs of fatigue at the ATP Cup.

  13. Fed’s in Djoker’s half and playing day session for R1 for a change! I see Fed got what he wants according to Rafan or Nolefam. 😆 The draw looks decent with some good match-ups to get the rhythm. The most important thing is that he’s IN the draw and still seeded top 4, which is miraculous, especially after the injury in 2016. The outfit looks nice on him, glad to say.

  14. Hey Jonathan, Are you going to post the winners of the blog response competition? I’m wondering if this years prize is a trip for two to the finals at Wimbledon.
    Another thing is the smokey air in Melbourne. Will everyone keep their pets indoors while the lover ranked players get lungs full of smoke. Hope it isn’t a factor.

  15. Decent draw, you have to go through Djokovic or Nadal at some point, and he doesn’t see Tsitsipas or Thiem, plus Medvedev of course he couldn’t have on his half anyway. As others said I’m worried about lack of match play though; he will be rusty, probably get broken a few times. He came out flat for example at Cinncinati vs Rublev in August. Hope for the best I guess as always…there goes 2 weeks of normal sleep…

    1. Yeah I am expecting some rustiness. At least Johnson can’t hurt him off both wings. He usually does well against guys who favour slice on the BH. Not that there are many of them around these days.

  16. Am more concerned about air quality for all players….does not read well in news. Jonathan, what are your thoughts on this?

    1. My thoughts are the air quality is a non-issue for the players. It’s not even bad, just dressed up for headlines. It would not surprise me if these players who struggled were struggling just as much with the heat than the air, so it in effect provided a smokescreen. Excuse the pun.

      Anyway, if it’s a huge concern for them – withdraw from the tournament. They are tweeting as though they’re on the front line in Helmand Province and stepping on court is like risking death. Wet lettuces.

      However, the air quality for the people who live right next to fires that have seen their homes destroyed, the animals, and the firefighters on the front line, that’s a concern.

      1. Thanks for those thoughts, Jonathan. What a gigantic hell on earth. Still I’m happy that tennis is on now again, nevertheless.

  17. I have experienced very poor air quality where I live because of forest fires. Last summer was ok but part of the two before that were awful. You would want to open the windows at night to cool off the house but letting in the smoke was worse than the heat. The sky was red and the sun was just a glow in the sky. All sporting events were cancelled.
    As far as the air quality in Melbourne…should they have played last Tuesday? I don’t know. Just like the heat rule, seems the players have to make some noise for some guidelines to be made. The top guys are indoors with fresh filtered air.
    Hoping all goes well and not too much smoke in the air. What’s this about Fed being selfish, geez.

  18. Good draw to make the semis in the less exciting half, I agree. Hope he can beat Djoker in the semis, but less chances on these courts. Wimbledon 2020 could be his last chance to make one more. I would rather he wins the US Open once more. I hope Roger is in good form as he is getting older and there is more competition and early rounds get more tricky.

  19. Jonathan, I’m remembering a surface change to Greenset? From, hmmm, Rebound Ace? Is my brain just flagging old news or is this new this year? And if it IS, what are the implications for how it plays?

    1. They changed from Plexicushion to Greenset Cushion. Rebound Ace was last used in 2008.

      It’s said to be essentially the same surface. I haven’t heard much about the change, no players have been asked as the pressers are just full of political questions, not tennis ones.

      I heard that it played slightly slower in qualifying but not sure.

  20. I guess that Roger will be as solid as he always was. Fit, maybe rusty, but happy to play again. Who knows, his sense of having fun whatever happens may carry him through. If not through all though, I think he won’t mind maybe as much as we do..

  21. Well he looked Sharp and relaxed against Kyrgios and had a straightforward win last night.
    Even the outfit didn’t look too bad.
    The omens are good😊

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