Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are in the same half of a grand slam for the first time in seven years after the draw was released Friday for next week's Australian Open in Melbourne.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic has world number four Andy Murray in the top half of the men's singles draw, while Nadal and Federer, ranked second and third respectively, were placed for the bottom half.

It is the first time since the 2005 French Open that 16-time grand slam champion Federer and 10-time major winner Nadal have been pitted in the same half of a grand slam draw.

The draw means that if they progress, the quartet will meet in the last four with Djokovic and Murray on collision course and Federer and Nadal eying a semi-final clash.

Djokovic, who won three of the four grand slams and five Masters titles in a remarkable 2011, begins his Australian Open title defense against Italy's Paolo Lorenzi.

"I didn't play in any lead-up tournaments because I played a lot of matches in 2011 and I felt that I didn't have to perform in the first week of the season," Djokovic said at the draw.

"I feel comfortable with preparing for an extra week ... I hope it works.

"I arrived last Wednesday, for the last five-six years I haven't arrived in Melbourne this early so I think I have enough time to prepare for the conditions."

The Australian Open starts Monday.

Follow us on
Like us at