When Andy Murray was asked recently which opponent he would most like to face this year, he nominated Rafael Nadal. Provided both players win their first three matches at the Australian Open, which begins here on Monday, the 19-year-old Scot will get his wish.
The draw, made early today, puts Murray and the world No2 on collision course in the fourth round. However, the British No 1 has some potentially difficult matches before then. Although he should beat another Spaniard, Alberto Martin, in the first round, he would then meet either Fernando Verdasco (world No 35) or Paul-Henri Mathieu (51). Murray's scheduled third-round opponent is world No17 Jarkko Nieminen.
Nadal's passage looks easier, although his first-round match against Robert Kendrick will bring back memories of his second-round encounter with the American at Wimbledon, when the French Open champion had to come back from two sets down.
Murray was meeting Andy Roddick today in the Kooyong Classic invitation event for the right to play Roger Federer in tomorrow's final. The world No 1, who plays Germany's Bjorn Phau in the first round next week, secured his place yesterday with a straight-sets victory over Marat Safin.Reuse content