Roger Federer will get the easy – at least on paper – start he wanted, after the former world number one was drawn with a qualifier for the first round of the Australian Open 2017. The rest of the big four – Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray – were handed tricky first round opponents.
Federer, who is only seeded 17th in Melbourne this year, will also face a qualifier in the second round if he, as expected, advances from his first round, but it does get more difficult for the 17-time Grand Slam winner. Having missed the entire second half of 2016, though, the first two comfortable-looking rounds should help Federer to get back into his groove.
Murray and Nishikori lie in wait
The Swiss great could potentially play Tomas Berdych in the third round while Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori are also in the same part of the draw. Murray, after a wonderful 2016, which saw him usurp Djokovic as the world number one, plays Ilya Marchenko in the opening round.
Tough for Djokovic and Nadal
Djokovic, the defending men's singles champion, starts his 2017 Australian Open sojourn with a really tough first round match against the experienced Fernando Verdasco. Both players will consider themselves unlucky to have drawn this particular opening round match.
Nadal, seeded ninth, has been drawn to face Florian Mayer of Germany, with the Spaniard set to run up against Gael Monfils and Milos Raonic in future rounds if all goes to plan.
Fourth seed Stan Wawrinka will play Martin Klizan of Slovakia, and if the Swiss manages to win that contest, like he should, the No.4 seed will be up against one of Federico Delbonis and Steve Johnson.
Serena's quest for more records
In the women's singles, second seed Serena Williams will have to be at her best to top Belinda Bencic, the former world number seven, in the first round, with one of Lucie Safarova or Yanina Wickmayer waiting in the second round to try and scupper the American's hopes of a seventh Australian Open title.
Defending champ and No.1 seed Angelique Kerber will play Lesia Tsurenko in the opening round, with Eugenie Bouchard and Roberta Vinci her potential future opponents.
Agnieszka Radwanska has been drawn with the dangerous Tsvetana Pironkova, while the No.3 seed could face off against Venus Williams in round number four.