Djokovic, Nadal can only meet in final at Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Rivals Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have been placed on opposite halves of the Australian Open bracket in the draw, meaning the owners of a combined 43 Grand Slam singles titles could only meet in the final at Melbourne Park. Djokovic is a nine-time champion in Australia. He returns to the hard-court tournament after missing it last year when his visa was revoked and he was deported from the country because he isn’t vaccinated against COVID-19. Fourth-seeded Djokovic will open his bid for a 10th Australian Open title against Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena in the tournament which begins Monday. Iga Swiatek, the women’s No. 1-ranked player, takes on Jule Niemeier in the opening round.   Swiatek won last year’s French and U.S. Open titles.