2012 Australian Open: Men's And Women's Singles Draw

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer landed on the same side of the 2012 Australian Open draw, which was released on Thursday night.

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10 Total Updates since January 12, 2012
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Australian Open 2012, Maria Sharapova: 2008 Champion Looking For Second Title

Maria Sharapova will be the No. 4 seed on the women's side of the 2012 Australian Open as she attempts to win her second tournament here.

Sharapova has won 24 WTA singles titles, including three Grand Slam singles titles at the 2004 Wimbledon, 2006 US Open and 2008 Australian Open. She has also won the year-end WTA Tour Championships in 2004.

The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) has ranked Sharapova world no. 1 in singles on four separate occasions. She became the world no. 1 for the first time on August 22, 2005, and last regained this ranking for the fourth time on May 19, 2008. As of November, 2011 Sharapova is ranked world no. 4. She has been in five Grand Slam finals with the final record 3–2.

The second quarter of the draw is spearheaded by No.3 Victoria Azarenka, who just titled in Sydney on Friday, while fourth-seeded Maria Sharapova and 12th- seeded Serena Williams headline the third quarter. The three-time major champion Sharapova was the Aussie champ back in 2008, while the 13-time Grand Slam winner and former No. 1 Williams owns a women's Open Era-record five championships in Melbourne.

For more on Williams and the Australian Open, follow SB Nation's tennis coverage.

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Australian Open 2012: Andy Roddick Faces Tough Opening Round Rematch With Robin Haase

Andy Roddick isn't the shining star he once was, heading into the 2012 Australian Open. He fell from a No. 8 world ranking one year ago to No. 16 this year, and at 29 years old his window to win his first Grand Slam tournament since the 2003 U.S. Open is gradually shrinking. Without the benefit of a high seed, Roddick's path to the finals becomes much more difficult as well, starting with his opening round matchup against Robin Haase.

The 24-year-old Dutchman is ranked just No. 52 in the world at the moment, but would certainly elevate his status with a win over a big name opponent like Roddick. The two faced each other in the third round of last year's Australian Open. Roddick dropped the first set, but won the second in a tie breaker before take the last two and the match.

Should Roddick move on, he could potentially face Lleyton Hewitt of Australia in the second round. Should he make it all the way to the finals, he will also have the task of taking out Novak Djokovic from his side of the bracket.

For more on the 2012 Australian Open, be sure to stay tuned to SB Nation Tennis.

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Australian Open 2012: Roger Federer Confirms He Is Feeling 'Back To Normal'

After Roger Federer was forced to withdraw from the Qatar Open earlier this month due to back spasms, many wondered, legitimately, whether the tennis legend would be able to return to the court for the 2012 Australian Open just two weeks later. According to Federer, he is already feeling "back to normal."

"I only started to feel better around Tuesday," he said. "Today was my first practice where I could play again at a hundred percent. I feel like I'm back to normal. That's a good feeling to have coming into the Australian Open now."

Federer made it all the way to the semifinals in last year's tournament, losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic. Of Federer's men's record 16 Grand Slam titles, four of them have come in Melbourne. He will face Alexander Kudryavtsev of Russia in the opening round of this year's tournament.

For more on the 2012 Australian Open, be sure to stay tuned to SB Nation Tennis.

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Australian Open 2012: Novak Djokovic Focused On Defending Title

The Novak Djokovic era took flight in 2011, with the Serbian winning three out of four Grand Slam titles while earning the world's No. 1 ranking. With 2012 Australian Open fast approaching, Djokovic knows that he cannot rest on his laurels.

"Obviously 2011 has been the best year so far in my career. It's going to be very difficult to repeat what I have done," Djokovic said. "But, look, I've done it once. Why not twice? Why not staying optimistic and positive about the whole season? Obviously I'm not thinking too far away from Australia. My focus is directed to this tournament."

The Australian Open has been relatively kind to Djokovic. In 2008, he won his first ever Grand Slam title in Melbourne at 21 years old. Melbourne was also the spot for his second ever major title last year, when he defeated Andy Murray in straight sets in the final. Djokovic will face Paolo Lorenzi in the opening round of this year's tournament.

For more on the 2012 Australian Open, be sure to stay tuned to SB Nation Tennis.

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Australian Open 2012: Andy Murray Hopes To Rebound In This Year's Open

Andy Murray has had a rough go of it in the past two Australian Open's, failing to win a set in either one of the finals at Melbourne Park. "Yeah, I don't normally think too much about the past," Murray told James Hunter Smith. "Just always try and concentrate on what's in front of you, [and] what you're trying to achieve this year."

In the 2011 Australian open, Murray lost in straight-sets to Novak Djokovic. "[I] need to get physically stronger. Then the other things I'll keep to myself and talk with [my coach] about, talk with the guys about, things that I need to improve in my game," Murray said in response to a question about what he took away from the loss.

Murray takes on American Ryan Harrison in the first round of the 2012 Australian Open as he gets set to take a crack at winning his first major in 2012. "If I get myself in [the final] this time around, I'll do things a bit differently," Murray said.

For more on the 2012 Australian Open, be sure to stick to SB Nation Tennis.

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Australian Open 2012: Women's Draw Preview

The 2012 Australian Open Women's draw begins at 12 p.m. ET today on the outdoor courts. There are few women's matchups that are must watch matches in the women's draw. First and foremost there will be a chance to check out Kim Clijsters, the defending champion in her opening matchup with qualifier Maria Joao Koehler.

Another key match will be the No. 1 seed Caroline Wozniacki, who will be taking on Anastasia Rodionova in the first round. Oddly enough, SI.com's experts think that Wozniacki could be an early out in the Open:

She looks to be in even better physical shape than before, and I loved that exhibition in which she and Kim Clijsters mocked the insufferable shriekers of the women's Tour. There's nothing new about Wozniacki's game, though. She still can't close out the important points in a crisis, and it's difficult to instill a killer instinct in a player lacking big-time weapons. Her search for that first major title will continue.

There are a few other key matches to watch as well, including the No. 5 seed Li Na taking on Ksenia Pervak. If Na can take down Pervak, she will be one step closer to another potential rematch of last year's final with Clijsters.

Maria Sharapova is taking on Gisela Dulko in the first round and the would have to take on the winner of Mandy Minella Vs. Jamie Hampton to continue further. Sports Illustrated's panel of experts also has Sharapova as someone who could get knocked out earlier than expected.

Maria Sharapova. While I admire the Russian's fight and don't like counting her out, she has, by far, the toughest draw of any of the top seeds on the men's or women's side. Just to get to the semifinals and live up to her seeding, Sharapova would have to beat Giselo Dulko, Angelique Kerber, Sabine Lisicki or Svetlana Kuznetsova and Serena. I just don't see it happening.

For more on the 2012 Australian Open, be sure to stick to SB Nation Tennis.

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2012 Australian Open Draw: Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer On Same Side Of Bracket

World No. 1 player Novak Djokovic won't have to face either Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer in the 2012 Australian Open unless he reaches the final round. That's because Nadal and Federer are on the same half of the draw. It's the first time the Spaniard and the Swiss have been on the same half of a Grand Slam draw since 2005.

For the quickest rematch of the 2011 Australian Open final for the women, Li Na could face defending champion Kim Clijsters in the fourth round. Both are in the same quarter of the draw as World No. 1 player Caroline Wozniacki. They are all on an opposite half from Serena Williams, a five-time Australian Open champion.

A few must-see first round matches:

Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Paolo Lorenzi -- a match that features the player who ended 2011 at 70-6 is key.

Kim Clijsters (11) vs. Qualifier -- to watch the defending champion, why else?

Cedrik-Marcel Stebe vs. Lleyton Hewitt

Robin Haase vs. Andy Roddick (15) -- if Hewitt and Roddick were to win, it would be two former No. 1's facing off.

Caroline Wozniacki (1) vs. Anastasia Rodionova -- Wozniacki is still in search of her first Grand Slam.

Andy Murray (4) vs. Ryan Harrison -- Chance to see American teenager Harrison show Slams what he's made of.

Li Na (5) vs.Ksenia Pervak -- because who wouldn't want Na and Clijsters one step closer to a rematch of last year's final?

The 2012 Australian Open men's singles draw can be found here. The women's singles draw can be found here.

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Venus Williams Withdraws From Australian Open 2012

Williams, who won the Australian Open in 2003, is currently No. 100 in the WTA rankings.

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Rafael Nadal Will Take Time Off Following 2012 Australian Open

Rafael Nadal will play through the Australian Open with a slight shoulder injury, but intends to take off the entire month of February.

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Australian Open 2012: James Blake Out Of Season's First Slam

The Australian Open has already found out it'll be without one of the world's top tennis players as American James Blake announced he won't be making the trip to Australia in January.

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