Novak Djokovic will kick off his quest for an historic 11th title at the Australian Open when he takes on a qualifier in the first round.

The first step was laid out for the world No. 1 at Thursday’s draw in Melbourne.

Djokovic will also be defending the title from 2023 when he steps onto the Laver showcourt at Melbourne Park as the major begins on Sunday.

Second seed Carlos Alcaraz will make his third appearance at the event after missing 2023, facing Frenchman Richard Gasquet. 

Greek seventh seed Stefanos Tsitsipas was handed one of the highlight matches of the opening round, paired against former Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini.

The Italian missed a huge chunk of last season with various injuries including minor hand surgery followed by other complaints which have kept him from the courts since a retirement in the US Open second round..

British icon Andy Murray – some Aussie tournament saddle the Scot with his honorific of “Sir” – begins with Argentine Tomas Etcheverry, with a possible third-round meeting with Djokovic.  

The 36-year-old lost the only match he has played this season last week in Brisbane but beat fellow former Grand Slam champion Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-2 on Thursday at the Kooyong exhibition.

Thiem starts with slumping Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime while 2014 Melbourne champion Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland starts with Adrian Mannarino.

Aussie no. 1 Alex de Minaur will play his first match as a Top 10 member when he faces off in the first round against one-time worl No. 3 Milos Raonic.

Brisbane champion Grigor Dimitrov starts with Hungarian Marton Fucsovics.

Women’s top seed Iga Swiatek, a four-time Grand Slam champion, who has never passed the semi-finals here,  takes on 2000 Melbourne trophy-holder Sofia Kenin of the US in her opener.

Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka starts with a qualifier.

Missing Naomi Osaka will mark her re-appearance in the game after a mental break and motherhood by taking on France’s Caroline Garcia, a former WTA 

US Open winner and teenaged fourth seed Coco Gauff opens her Grand Slam season against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.

Main photo:- Novak Djokovic with winners trophy asAO 2023 by Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd