Murray Could Face Federer, Nadal and Djokovic for Aussie Title

Two-time major winner Andy Murray has his work cut out for him at next week’s Australian Open.

A three-time finalist, the 27-year-old Briton may have to overcome Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic for his first Australian Open title.

Murray, who had a topsy-turvy season following back surgery in 2013, starts his first round in Melbourne Park against a qualifier. He could meet 10th-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, who beat Murray at Wimbledon, in the fourth round. Should the Scot win that match, he may have to play four-time champion Federer of Switzerland in the quarterfinals, 2009 winner Nadal in the semifinals and Djokovic, also a four-time winner, for the title.

Federer was drawn against Taiwan’s Yen-Hsun Lu in the first round starting Monday, while top-ranked Djokovic of Serbia starts against a qualifier. Nadal meets former top 10-player Mikhail Youzhny of Russia. Stan Wawrinka, the defending men’s champion from Switzerland, is on Djokovic’s side of the draw and starts against Marsel Ilhan of Turkey.

The women’s tournament will have a new champion after the retirement of 2014 winner Li Na of China.

Eighteen-time major singles champion and top-seeded Serena Williams of the U.S. opens against Belgium’s Alison van Uytvanck. She may face her friend and former top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in the quarterfinals and Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic in the semifinals. Williams is a five-time winner in Australia.

Double Champion

Victoria Azarenka, a two-time champion but unseeded after an injury-filled season, plays Sloane Stephens of the U.S. in the first round in a repeat of their 2013 semifinal, which the Belorussian won after a controversial medical timeout.

Second-seeded Maria Sharapova starts her quest for a second title against a qualifier. The Russian may play Wimbledon runner-up Eugenie Bouchard of Canada in the quarterfinals and 2008 French Open winner Ana Ivanovic of Serbia in the semifinals.

Venus Williams, Serena’s older sister, plays her first round against Spain’s Maria Torro-Flor. The five-time Wimbledon winner has started the season well, beating Wozniacki in the finals in Auckland, New Zealand, last week.

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