Published: Thu, January 10, 2019
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Andy Murray opens his Australian Open campaign against Roberto Bautista Agut

Andy Murray opens his Australian Open campaign against Roberto Bautista Agut

Murray is playing in Australia under his protected ranking of world number two, which is used to help players who have suffered long-term injuries.

"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.

Men's top seed Djokovic, who was defending his title when he lost to Istomin, has drawn a qualifier in his bid for a record seventh Melbourne title and third Grand Slam crown in succession following wins at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

Six-time Melbourne Park champion Federer, seeded No.3 for his quest for a hat-trick of Australian Open crowns and a record seventh AO titles in all, opens his 2019 campaign against world No. 99 Denis Istomin, while fellow six-time Melbourne victor and men's top seed Novak Djokovic plays a qualifier in the first round.

Last year's surprise semi-finalist Kyle Edmund, the 13th seed, faces a tough first-round clash against former top-10 stalwart Tomas Berdych, who is unseeded following injury, while Cameron Norrie takes on American Taylor Fritz in a rematch of the quarter-finals of the ASB Classic in Auckland which the British No 2 won. But being so close, I'll give it a go.

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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.

US Open champion Naomi Osaka is at four while Sloane Stephens, who also slumped out of Sydney early, is at five.

"To finally get that (title) here was so special, it's the happy slam". For me it's just taking it day by day, doing the right things, taking even better care of my body.

The draw for the first Grand Slam of the year took place on Thursday, as the likes of Federer, Djokovic and Rafael Nadal learned what their potential paths to the trophy would look like.

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