World No. 1 Rafael Nadal withdrew from his first tour event of 2018, in Brisbane, with continuing knee problems, and is seeking match practice in a Melbourne exhibition event ahead of the January 15 start. Kyrgios is 17th seed and coming off a Brisbane International victory, while Barty is seeded at 18, having come from world No.271 at the start of past year.
"I haven't played in six months".
"I looked at the positive and said I put myself in contention nearly every week and eventually it will have to turn". "Of course I had doubts coming here, personally I don't know what is going to happen".
Meanwhile Defending champion Jack Sock lost 6-3, 6-3 in only 61 minutes to his German opponent Peter Gojowczyk, who is ranked 65th in the world.
In Sydney on Tuesday, Britain's best hope for honours in Melbourne, Johanna Konta, survived a thorough examination of the hip that gave up on her in Brisbane last week but could not get past the player she beat in last year's final in her home town, Agnieszka Radwanska. I'll sleep, eat and train and not do too much. "And I feel like I am ready".
And whilst Nadal appears to be over the injury woes which forced him out of December's ATP finals, emerging from two exhibition matches pain-free, question marks remain over his match sharpness. Grigor Dimitrov, a semi-finalist previous year, and Alexander Zverev, yet to reach a Slam quarter-final, will be looking to enhance their records in the Majors having moved into the world's top four rankings.
The Australian Open is the second straight Grand Slam to be badly hit by injury issues. He also has No. 7-ranked David Goffin, Juan Martin del Potro, Sam Querrey, and Milos Raonic in his quarter.
Take look at some of the stars who have been struggling in the run up to the Australian Open.
Djokovic is still considered a long shot to win at his first grand slam back, but having him competing in Australia again is an injection of excitement Down Under. "Australians are always getting great support here".
"Right now it's all about recovering and feeling the ball for the Oz Open". "When you combine all of those ingredients with the massive talent that is Roger Federer, you get 19 majors and a career that is just incredible".