Today’s release of The Australian Open draw was headlined by Lleyton Hewitt’s unfortunate first round draw against fellow Aussie James Duckworth.
While Rod Laver Arena will no doubt be packed for however many matches Rusty plays, 126 other plays also received their fates today, some less kind than others.
Let’s take a look at who the winners and losers of today’s Aussie Open draw reveal were.
Loser: Hyeon Chung
The young Korean is the second-highest ranked teenager in the world at #52, but has most unfortunately drawn Novak Djokovic in the first round of the Australian Open.
While playing on centre court in a Grand Slam against the world number one will be a great experience for the 19 year-old, there’s no doubt he’d rather have built up to a Djoker showdown, rather than play him in the first round.
Winner: Jiri Vesely
The young Czech is ranked just two spots lower than the first man on this list, but such is tennis, he was lucky enough to be drawn against a qualifier.
In two attempts at The Open he has never made it past the first round, but hot money would be on him to do so this year.
Loser: Jo-Wilfred Tsonga
Jo-Wilfred Tsonga has made the finals at Melbourne Park before, and is currently playing some of his best tennis in recent years.
However the number nine seed has been drawn against another former finalist at this tournament, and one of the form players of the past six months – Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis.
Winner: Victor Estrella-Burgos
Despite this being his 15th year on the tour, Dominican veteran Victor Estrella-Burgos has played most of his career on the Challenger Tour, only visiting us in Melbourne for the first time last year.
However, good things come to those who wait, and this is true for Estrella, who, despite being ranked just outside the top 50, gets to play a qualifier first up.
Loser: Philipp Kohlscreiber
Philipp Kohlscreiber is the world number #34, and a tour veteran who has made it to the fourth round of the Aussie Open three times – in 2005, 2008 and 2012.
However he was not in luck on Friday, drawing world number #7 Kei Nishikori in the first round.
Winner: Austin Krajicek
In stark contrast to Kohlscreiber is young Yank Austin Krajicek. Having only played one Grand Slam in his life, and being outside the top 100, one would expect a pretty tough road to the second round.
However, the ping-pong balls smiled on Krajicek, and he will be playing a qualifier in the first round.
Loser: Dominic Thiem
Dominic Theim is currently the youngest man in the top-20, and is one of the hottest tennis prospects going around.
However, he will have to play world #36 Leonardo Mayer in his first-round match – a man who has previously reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam.
Winner: Robin Haase
Robin Haase has previously made the third round of the AO, in 2011, where he lost to Andy Roddick.
Despite being currently ranked #64 in the world, he will be one of the lucky players playing a qualifier in the first round of the tournament.
Loser: Rafael Nadal
Despite signaling he was keen to make a big comeback to the top echelons of the tour in 2016, Rafael Nadal will have to do so the hard way in The Open.
Despite being seeded in the top five, he will have to play former world number 7 and countryman Fernando Verdasco in the first round.
Winner: Daniel Gimeno-Traver
Daniel Gimeno-Traver has bounced between the ATP and Challenger tours his entire 13-year career, making the second round at Melbourne Park in 2013.
He will be hotly backed to do so again in 2016, as the world #99 has been drawn against a qualifier in the first round.
Loser: James Duckworth
James Duckworth’s worst nightmare was confirmed on Friday morning, drawing inspirational countryman Lleyton Hewitt playing his last Australian Open.
Not many men know the feeling of your own country rooting against you. Duckworth will know that feeling next week.
Winner: Brian Baker
In 2014, American former world #52 Brian Baker withdrew from the Australian Open due to a knee injury. He never played tennis on the ATP tour again. Until now.
After a three-year injury layoff, Baker has fought his way back. His comeback to professional tennis has been inspiring and everyone wishes him well in the first round against Italian Simone Bolleli.