Tennis: Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams named top seeds for Australian Open

Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams were named top seeds for next week's Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams were named top seeds for next week's Australian Open. PHOTOS: AFP, EPA

MELBOURNE (AFP) - World No. 1s Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams were named the top seeds on Thursday for next week's Australian Open, with organisers aligning with the current rankings.

Djokovic is chasing his sixth title after beating Andy Murray in last year's final, while Williams, battling a knee injury, is after her seventh Australian crown.

Murray, who has lost in four Australian finals, three of them to Djokovic, is the second seed ahead of 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer. Fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka, who won in Melbourne in 2014, is the fourth seed with Rafael Nadal at five.

French world No.9 Richard Gasquet was not among the seedings for the year's opening Grand Slam because of a back injury.

Romania's Simona Halep is the second seed in the bottom half of the women's draw ahead of Spain's Garbine Muguruza and Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska. Maria Sharapova, the 2008 champion, is fifth seed, while two-time winner Victoria Azarenka of Belarus is seeded at 14.

World No.9 Lucie Safarova is skipping the Australian Open because of health problems linked to a bacterial infection, while Italy's Flavia Pennetta, ranked at eight, retired from the sport after her win at last year's US Open.

The 2016 Australian Open runs from Jan 18-31.

Men's top 10 seeds: 1. Novak Djokovic (Srb), 2. Andy Murray (Gbr), 3. Roger Federer (Sui), 4. Stan Wawrinka (Sui), 5. Rafael Nadal (Esp), 6. Tomas Berdych (Cze), 7. Kei Nishikori (Jpn), 8. David Ferrer (Esp), 9. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Fra), 10. John Isner (USA).

Women's top 10 seeds: 1. Serena Williams (USA), 2. Simona Halep (Rom), 3. Garbine Muguruza (Esp), 4. Agnieszka Radwanska (Pol), 5. Maria Sharapova (Rus), 6. Petra Kvitova (Cze), 7. Angelique Kerber (Ger), 8. Venus Williams (USA), 9. Karolina Pliskova (Cze), 10. Carla Suarez Navarro (Esp).