Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Serena Williams seeded for Australian Open

• World No1 named alongside men’s world No1 Roger Federer • Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic also had choice of wildcard entries • Roger Federer to defend Open title, Venus Williams will make Australian Open return

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Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Serena Williams have been seeded among the top 16 seeds for next month’s Australian Open, leaving Australia’s two biggest stars Rafael Nadal and Angelique Kerber below the seedings.

Williams has missed last season’s tournament due to pregnancy and will miss this year’s edition through a medical issue.

The world No1 was seeded at the 2016 Australian Open, where she was beaten in the final by Serena’s younger sister, Venus.

Nadal has dropped to No7 after a disappointing year with injuries, but made a successful comeback at the Madrid Open and would have been seeded in the top four but for a rule change that sees players seeded ahead of any other member of their tour ranked higher than them not being given wildcards into grand slam events.

Federer, who beat Nadal in the Australian Open final last year, is not seeded due to his No2 world ranking. He is the defending champion.

Australian Open draw. Photograph: Ramon Espinosa/AP

“Following our seedings for the Australian Open earlier this week, we’ve confirmed some further changes to the draw,” the tournament’s tournament director Craig Tiley said.

“Rafael Nadal is set to play in the tournament after missing last year, and he will be seeded in the top six and could have a path to the final had he won this year’s French Open.

“We do however feel that the seedings and draw for men’s singles are quite close this year, and we’ve moved our seedings for the rest of the draw down to leave some fans with more question marks about their matchups and potential second round wildcards.

“We’ve been meeting with players over the past two weeks to explain the reason behind the changes to the seedings and draw.

“It’s been a good debate and lots of insights into both the importance of scheduling the men’s draw on Friday and the game of tennis itself that surround the Australian Open.

“The rest of the draw and quarter-finals have remained essentially the same and can be seen below, with the all-important other final four seeing the highest seeds getting seeded first.”

The draw for the women’s tournament will be held on Friday at the Rod Laver Arena. The men’s draw will be held on Sunday.

Australia’s women’s No1 Ashleigh Barty has missed the list of wildcards received. She made the tournament for the first time last year and is yet to qualify for the tournament this year.

The former world No1 Caroline Wozniacki has also missed out on a wildcard. The Dane, who fell to former world No1 Angelique Kerber in the quarter-finals last year, will not be seeded in Melbourne.

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