Australian Open: Roger Federer seeded 17th, could face Andy Murray or Novak Djokovic in third round
Roger Federer will be the 17th seed for the Australian Open, meaning he could face Andy Murray or Novak Djokovic as early as the third round.
Murray meanwhile, who became world number one in November after winning four tournaments in a row, is seeded first in a grand slam for the first time, while second seed Djokovic will be in the other half of the draw.
Djokovic is likely to be Murray's chief rival again in Melbourne, where he is a six-time champion and has beaten the Scot four times in the final.
17th-seed Federer has won four Australian Open titles but the 35-year-old has not played a competitive tournament since Wimbledon last year.
Rafael Nadal represents another potential early foe. The Spaniard is seeded ninth and could therefore meet any of the top four seeds in the last 16.
Konta seeded ninth
Williams, who also surrendered the world number one spot after Kerber won the US Open in September, is seeded second.
While Kerber, however, is looking for her third Grand Slam success, Williams is chasing her 23rd, which would see her overtake Steffi Graf's Open-era record 22 major triumphs.
British number one Johanna Konta is seeded ninth. Konta made a superb run to the Australian Open semi-finals last year before eventually falling to Kerber.
Main draw matches at the first Grand Slam of the year start on Monday.
Johanna Konta of Britain hits a return against Daria Kasatkina of Russia during their women's singles quarter-final round match at the Sydney International tennis tournament in Sydney on January 11, 2017.Eurosport
Federer's low seeding adds some spice to the first week at Melbourne, and while the Swiss is expected to climb back up the rankings, the prospect of facing the veteran early on will only make that path to the final tougher.
Throw Nadal into the mix as the ninth seed, and you could find yourself facing Federer and the Spaniard before even making the quarter-finals.
Naturally, this is the worst-case scenario, but not one beyond comprehension, and you can only imagine the powers-that-be in Australia are crossing their fingers for an early Djokovic-Federer match-up. And so are we...