London: World number ones Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep have been named top seeds for the first major of the season, Australian Open, which will commence from January 15 at the Melbourne Park.
Recently, Nadal made a rusty return from his injury-layoff as he slumped to a straight sets defeat to veteran Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the exhibition event at the Kooyong Classic in Melbourne.
In November, Nadal had announced the withdrawal from the ATP World Tour Finals citing a knee injury, which also forced him to subsequently pull out of Paris Masters.
The Spaniard was then scheduled to return to court in the season-opening Brisbane International starting on January 1, but he withdrew from that as well.
19-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer is placed as second seed while Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov and Germany’s Alexander Zverev have been named third and fourth seed, respectively, the Daily Express reported.
Meanwhile, former world number one Andy Murray and Japanese tennis star Kei Nishikori will miss the first major of the season because of their respective injuries.
Dominic Thiem of Austria is rounding off the top five seeds. He is followed by Marin Cilic, David Goffin, Jack Sock, Stan Wawrinka, Pablo Carreno Busta.
For women’s singles event, Caroline Wozniacki is seeded second Garbine Muguruza followed by Elina Svitolina, Venus Williams, Karoliina Pliskova, Jelena Ostapenko, Caroline Garcia, Johanna Konta, CoCo Vandeweghe.
Meanwhile, 2017 Australian Open champion Serena Williams opted out of the competition, saying that her preparations had fallen just short of what she needed to be competitive after giving birth in September.
It should be noted that the seedings have gone largely according to the ATP world rankings.