Double defending champion Roger Federer will start his bid for a hat-trick of Australian Open titles next week against unseeded Uzbek Denis Istomin, who caused a huge upset when he defeated Novak Djokovic in the second round two years ago.
Now seeded 16th, Williams was drawn into the same section Thursday as No. 1-ranked Simona Halep, the runner-up here previous year. Eighth-seeded Kei Nishikori, who opened the season with a title in Brisbane, is a potential quarterfinal rival and No. 4 Alexander Zverev looms as a semifinal opponent if both players advance that far.
Aiming for a third consecutive Australian championship, a 21st Grand Slam crown and a 100th career singles title, Federer will open against Denis Istomin.
"I'm so close, I'll give it a go, " Federer said.
World number ones Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep were named top seeds today for next week's Australian Open, with 23-time major victor Serena Williams lurking at 16 on the women's side. If it would happen defending this title, I would gladly accept it.
The Scot was bundled out of the Brisbane International warm-up last week in round two by Russia's Daniil Medvedev and headed straight to Melbourne to fit in some much-needed practice.
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Defender Benjamin Mendy has returned to training with the team and is expected to be fit in two or three weeks. But he did dismiss suggestions that he asked the grass to be left long for the 2-1 victory over Liverpool.
The Spanish 22nd seed defeated Djokovic on his way to the title in Doha last week while concerns about Murray's fitness grew as he struggled through a practice match against Djokovic at Melbourne Park on Thursday.
Williams will face Tatjana Maria in the first round, and could meet either Genie Bouchard or Peng Shaui in the second.
Top seed Novak Djokovic, who like Federer is bidding for a record seventh title in Melbourne, will take on a qualifier.
The three-time Grand Slam champion has been drawn to face Roberto Bautista Agut on Monday or Tuesday.
During his Australian Open qualifying victory over Jurij Rodionov, Great Britain's Dan Evans pulled off one of the most remarkable shots we can remember seeing. For me it's just taking it day by day, doing the right things, taking even better care of my body.