Andy Murray opens his Australian Open campaign against Roberto Bautista Agut

Andy Murray opens his Australian Open campaign against Roberto Bautista Agut

Andy Murray opens his Australian Open campaign against Roberto Bautista Agut

Title favorites Serena Williams and Roger Federerface a tricky early schedule in Melbourne.

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

"If I had a chance to do it as well I'd be happy to try and go there as well".

"I'm surprised that I'm still at this level, that I'm still in the top 10".

Third-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, who won her first Grand Slam title here past year after a tough final against Halep, is in the same section as Maria Sharapova and has Petra Kvitova at the top of her quarter. He has the potential of a second-round meeting against wildcard entry Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Second seed Rafa Nadal, who has question marks concerning his fitness after pulling out of the Brisbane International, will play unseeded local James Duckworth in the first round.

The pair face a stern challenge from Zverev, the torch-bearer for the next generation who has so far failed to get beyond the quarter-finals at any major.

Long-time rival and six-time Australian Open champion Djokovic offered to share a court with him, but Murray called time after less than an hour with his movement around the baseline appearing restricted. She is the hot favourite to claim a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam. The 26-year-old has achieved a career breakthrough last season as she qualified for two straight semifinals in Wuhan and China Open. Halep has a tough opening encounter against Kaia Kanepi and a possible third rounder against Venus Williams. Among those looking to halt Serena's charge: world number one Simona Halep, defending champion Caroline Wozniacki and US Open victor Naomi Osaka.

Eurosport pundit John McEnroe sees the changing of the guard coming in 2019, saying: "I believe this year will be the year that you are going to see one of these young kids break through".

Kerber will open against Slovenia's Polona Hercog, while No.3 seed Wozniacki will face Alison van Uytvanck first up to begin her title defense.

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.

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