Draw for Australian Open presents test for Andy Murray


Andy Murray faces the prospect of having to beat world number one and defending champion Novak Djokovic if he is to reach a third successive Australian Open final.

The Scot was today handed a tough draw for the season's first grand slam after being placed in the same half as the Serbian and the same quarter as a trio of dangerous Frenchman - Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon.

Murray was also handed a potentially tricky opener against 19-year-old American Ryan Harrison - ranked 84 and one of the rising stars on the ATP Tour - although it is a clash he ought to navigate successfully.

Things could get much trickier later, however, as he faces a possible fourth-round meeting with the unpredictable Monfils, a quarter-final against Tsonga and then a semi against Djokovic.

Should he emerge from the top half then either Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer are likely to lie in wait in the final.

Nadal and Federer, who were paired in the same half of a major for the first time since the 2005 French Open both start against qualifiers while Djokovic will meet Italian Paolo Lorenzi first up.

Djokovic has arrived in Melbourne without playing a ranking event in 2012 but he claimed to be in perfect shape as he looks to build on a remarkable year which saw him record a 70-6 win-loss record and also win Wimbledon and the US Open in addition to his success in Australia.

"I've been here since last Wednesday which is quite early and plenty of time to get ready," said Djokovic. "The last five or six years I didn't arrive this early.

"I haven't played any little tournaments. I played a lot of matches in 2011 and I felt I didn't really need to perform the first week of the season. I feel comfortable preparing an extra week and I hope it works."

Djokovic believed winning in Melbourne last year gave him the momentum to go on and claim his place at the top of the rankings.

"I've been playing the best tennis of my life, especially in the first six months of the (2011) season," he said.

"I guess it probably started here in Australia. I played incredible in the later rounds and it gave me a lot of confidence and put the wind on my back.

"Mentally, I gained that necessary strength. I began to believe I could win the major tournaments along with the big names Federer and Nadal.

"They have been the two most dominant players in the game. They have been my two biggest rivals along with Andy Murray."

Djokovic will be happy with his draw although a possible third-round clash against either rising Canadian star Milos Raonic or experienced American Andy Roddick could prove testing.

The bottom half provides few obstacles to prevent a mouthwatering last-four clash between Federer and Nadal.

The Swiss, who has failed to add to his 16 grand slam crowns over the last two years, is slated to meet Mardy Fish in the last eight while Nadal could take on Tomas Berdych.


i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower