Two Australians seeded at Australian Open for first time since 2004
Melbourne: Local fans and tournament organisers were bubbling with excitement at the possibility of the first Australian Open men's champion in more than 40 years, after two young Australian tennis stars were seeded for the first time in 12 years.
Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic
Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios were both ranked inside the best 32 men at the 2016 Open when tournament organisers revealed the seeds on Thursday, reports Xinhua.
Not since 2004 has Australia had two men seeded at the tournament, when Mark Philippoussis was ranked No.10 and Lleyton Hewitt was ranked 15. On top of that, it is the first time since 2010 that Australia has had a seeded man in the draw.
Tomic, seeded 16, will likely not have to face a seed higher than him until the fourth round, if he makes it that far, with the draw likely to pit him against the fourth seed. Meawhile, Kyrgios has been ranked 29th.
Tournament organisers will be hoping that Kyrgios or Tomic can make a run for the title, as the last Australian man to win the Open was Mark Edmondson back in 1976. The last Australian to make the final was Hewitt 11 years ago in 2005, when he lost to Russian Marat Safin.
This is the first time either of the men has been ranked at Melbourne Park, despite Kyrgios having made a quarter-final and Tomic having made the fourth round of the Australian Open twice already.
Both of the Australians have displayed good form in lead-up tournaments, with Tomic blazing his way through the Sydney International as the top seed, while Kyrgios played a great hand in helping Australia win the Hopman Cup in Perth last week.
However, Kyrgios suffered a minor injury on Wednesday, pulling out of the Kooyong Classic in Melbourne with an Achilles' complaint. In a press conference following his retirement, Kyrgios said he would be fine for the Australian Open.
Fellow Aussie Samantha Stosur was the only local woman to be seeded. She is ranked 25th going into the tournament.
The tournament begins in Melbourne on Monday, January 18.