Australian Open 2019: Andy Murray faces Roberto Bautista Agut in first round

Kyle Edmund and Roger Federer

Nadal will meet Australian wild card James Duckworth in his opening clash, with Kevin Anderson, John Isner and Grigor Dimitrov all in his quarter of the draw.

Federer's first-round test comes in the shape of Istomin, an Uzbek whom Federer has defeated in each of their six meetings, and they are in the same quarter of the draw as Andy Murray, who is unseeded and meets Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut first up.

Champion Roger Federer, seeded three and also gunning for a seventh Melbourne title, starts his title defence against world No 99 Denis Istomin and could meet Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals.

The Spanish 22nd seed defeated Novak 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 on Thursday.

After winning the Australian Open past year, Federer skipped the French Open for the third time in a row before losing in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon and the fourth round at the US Open.

World number one Djokovic, who produced a strong comeback a year ago, was the top seed of men's singles.

Kyle Edmund, back at the scene of his semi-final appearance 12 months ago, was also given a hard opener at the year's first grand slam against former top-10 stalwart Tomas Berdych, who is unseeded following injury.

In the women's tournament, Serena Williams's bid for a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam title and eighth at Melbourne Park will kick off against German world No. 71 Tatjana Maria. But being so close, I'll give it a go.

Serena Williams, who won the Australian Open in 2017 while pregnant with daughter Alexis Olympia, returns as the 16th-seeded player after missing last year's tournament. Halep has drawn another first-round against Kaia Kanepi, who beat her at the same stage at last year's U.S. Open, and a possible third rounder against unseeded Venus Williams.

All the active grand slam winners in the men's game are over 30 and one of the most intriguing storylines will be whether the new generation can finally break the stranglehold. "I'm just enjoying every minute of it".

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