Roger Federer is to face a stern test from Russian Igor Andreev for the second time in as many Grand Slams after the pair were drawn as first round opponents for the Australian Open starting next week.
The Swiss top-seed owns a 2-0 record in the series, but needed to go five sets in the US Open fourth round last September to get the job done.
There looks to be an easier task for second seed Rafael Nadal as the Spaniard defends the title he won here a year ago over Federer. Nadal starts with Australian Peter Luczak, the number 78.
Third seed Novak Djokovic, the 2008 winner, meets Spain’s Daniel Gimeno-Traver, while wrist pain victim Juan Del Potro, the US Open holder, takes on American Michael Russell.
Del Potro withdrew this week before his semifinal at the AAMI Classic warm-up event, likely as a precaution for his injury.
Britain’s Andy Murray, number five and yet to make a big impression at a major after his 2008 New York final against Federer, opens with a qualifier while seventh seed Andy Roddick plays one of the young promises of the sport in 21-year-old Thiemo de Bakker of the Netherlands.
French Open finalist and eighth seed Robin Soderling will hope that his elbow injury is healed by the time of his opening match with Marcel Granollers of Spain.
Home hopes for Lleyton Hewitt could be marginal, with the 28-year-old opening with a qualifier, only to be followed by a possible rematch with former Melbourne finalist Marcos Baghdatis.
The pair met this week in Sydney, with Baghdatis winning in straight sets. They played a marathon match which went until 4:30 am in the Open third round two years ago, a contest which Hewitt won.
In the women’s draw, 2004 champion Justine Henin makes her return to the Grand Slam stage after reversing her retirement, playing as a wild card.
The Belgian faces compatriot Kirsten Flipkens in the first round and a possible meeting with Russian fifth seed Elena Dementieva in the second.
Top-seeded Serena Williams starts with Pole Urszula Radwanska while second seed Dinara Safina plays Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia.