Murray’s Australian Open bid dealt a blow after match against Djokovic

Djokovic wins the Australian Open

Men's top seed Djokovic, who was defending his title when he lost to Istomin, will first meet a qualifier in his bid for a record seventh Melbourne title and third Grand Slam crown in succession following wins at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

Should Djokovic, a six-time victor at Melbourne Park, beat an as-yet-unknown qualifier, he could face wildcard Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the next match, with Denis Shapovalov a possible third-round opponent and Kei Nishikori potentially awaiting in the last eight.

Kyle Edmund, back at the scene of his semi-final appearance 12 months ago, was also given a hard opener at the year's first grand slam against former top-10 stalwart Tomas Berdych, who is unseeded following injury.

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Cilic was drawn into the same section as five-time finalist Andy Murray, who is coming back from a long-term hip injury and is set to open against No. 22-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut.

Alex de Minaur, the only Australian men's seed in the draw at number 27, opens against Pedro Sousa, while other prominent first-round matchups for the locals include John Millman against Federico Delbonis, and Nick Kyrgios in a mouth-watering encounter against big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic, the 16th seed.

A supporter of the 31-year-old wrote on Instagram saying how much they enjoyed Murray's practice match with Novak Djokovic on Thursday.

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In the quarter-finals, he could meet Australia's Alex De Minaur (26), Argentina's Diego Schwartzman (18) and the United Kingdom's Kyle Edmund (13).

"So long as it's not too physical for Federer in the first four rounds, I would say he is as unsafe as he has been before".

The three-time grand slam champion then offered a kind gesture by saying: 'If you'd like to come along and watch my match on Monday or Tuesday I'll sort you a ticket'.

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

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