Australian Open: Roger Federer to launch title defence against Denis Istomin

Novak Djokovic

The 37-year-old, seeded third, is bidding to extend his all-time leading men's Grand Slam record to 21 title and would capture a 100th ATP tournament win in the process. And with No. 6 Marin Cilic in the same quarter, there's potential for a rematch of the 2018 final a few rounds early.

"So long as it's not too physical for Federer in the first four rounds, I would say he is as risky as he has been before".

Three-time Grand Slam champion Murray missed most of last season after hip surgery and has tumbled down the rankings to 230th.

"I always have tried to remind myself that this is a dream", Federer said of his longevity at the draw ceremony held at Margaret Court Arena, where he discovered the world number 99 would be his opening opponent.

The Spanish 22nd seed defeated Djokovic on his way to the title in Doha last week while concerns about Murray's fitness grew as he struggled through a practice match against world number one Djokovic at Melbourne Park today.

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The Scot was bundled out of the Brisbane International warm-up last week in round two by Russia's Daniil Medvedev and headed straight to Melbourne to fit in some much-needed practice.

Williams will face Tatjana Maria in the first round, and could meet either Genie Bouchard or Peng Shaui in the second.

World number one Djokovic, who produced a strong comeback a year ago, was the top seed of men's singles. "I feel like these courts are suited for me, so it's incredible to be back". Not just physically, but also mentally, to see that I could beat Grigor Dimitrov twice, he was top-10 at that time.

Romanian Halep was named the top seed in women's singles, followed by Angelique Kerber of Germany and Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki.

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