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Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer on opposite sides of Australian Open draw
10 January 2019, 06:18 | Pamela Mathis
Australian Open 2019: Andy Murray faces Roberto Bautista Agut in first round
No. 1-ranked Djokovic starts at the top of the draw and will open against a qualifier.
In the women's draw, Johanna Konta begins her campaign against Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic, who she lost to in Brisbane last week.
Top-ranked Djokovic and defending champion Federer enter the season-opening major equal with Roy Emerson, who won his six Australian singles championships between 1961-67, before the Open era.
Roger Federer, aiming for his third successive Australian Open title and seventh overall, will play Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin. And with No. 6 Marin Cilic in the same quarter, there's potential for a rematch of the 2018 final a few rounds early.
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.
A highlight first-round clash will see Australia's unseeded Nick Kyrgios up against Canada's big-serving 16th seed Milos Raonic, with the victor facing either Stan Wawrinka or Ernests Gulbis.
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.
The pair have met four times in Australian Open finals, with the Serb winning them all.
"The hip is incredibly difficult to come back from for especially a tennis player and someone that has worked as hard as he's worked, put the miles on", ESPN tennis pundit Patrick McEnroe said.
Last year's semi-finalist Kyle Edmund, seeded 13th, looms as a possible fourth round match-up for the Spaniard, who could then face big-serving South African Kevin Anderson in the quarter-finals if the draw follows the seedings, and potentially Federer in the semis. For me it's just taking it day by day, doing the right things, taking even better care of my body.
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