Title favorites face tricky early schedule at Australian Open

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We'll see if he is indeed in the draw later tonight.

Serb Djokovic could then face a rematch of his 2008 final triumph over Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round, before a possible second week match-up against Japan's Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals.

Defending champion Roger Federer, aiming for a third consecutive Australian title and a 21st Grand Slam crown, takes on Denis Istomin in round one.

"He challenged me time and time again and I played him in his absolute prime when he was virtually unbeatable", Federer said. "But I don't see him playing if he at least doesn't think he can be a factor in a major". It was important not to get frustrated by it.

Two-time champion Victoria Azarenka was also among the most notable unseeded players to be placed in the top half of the draw as well, as she will face Laura Siegemund first up as a potenial third-round foe for Osaka.

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"I don't think I needed them to push me", Federer added.

"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.

Three-time grand slam victor Andy Murray has a tough clash with 22nd-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut as he returns from a hip injury. Murray opens against No. 22-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut.

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. Murray played at the season-opening Brisbane International last week, where he won his first-round match against James Duckworth but lost in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev in the second, limping between points and admitting he's still dealing with his troublesome right hip.

Local hope John Millman, who dumped Roger Federer out of the fourth round at last year's U.S. Open, is no slouch either as a potential second round match-up for Murray, with 10th-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov another likely roadblock to the last 16.

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