The men’s draw for Australian Open 2019 has promised an enthralling event, with a plethora of pulsating first-round encounters locked into the schedule.
Two-time defending champion Roger Federer joined the official draw ceremony on Thursday evening in Melbourne clutching the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup, and the Swiss maestro will open his quest for a hat-trick facing Denis Istomin.
Federer, who has won all six of their previous encounters, will still be on guard, because the world No.99 stunned Novak Djokovic in the 2017 second round in Melbourne.
Like Federer, Djokovic will also hope to clinch a record-breaking seventh Australian Open title this month, and the Serbian world No.1 faces a qualifier at the first hurdle.
However, the top seed, who enjoyed a stunning renaissance in 2018 with the Wimbledon and US Open crowns, is placed in a tricky quarter. Djokovic could meet Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who he beat in the 2008 Australian final, in the second round, and has a potential third round against Next Gen superstar Denis Shapovalov.
In the same quarter as Djokovic, recent Brisbane champion Kei Nishikori also takes to the court against a qualifier.