| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff
Photo credit: Kenneth B. Goldberg

World number one-ranked Novak Djokovic will begin his quest to become the first man to win three consecutive Australian Open titles in the Open Era against Paul-Henri Mathieu, while second-ranked Roger Federer and third-ranked Andy Murray have been drawn in the bottom half of the 2013 Australian Open. Djokovic, the top seed, will make his season debut after finishing 2012 ranked number one in the Emirates ATP Rankings for the second year in a row. Last year at Melbourne Park, Djokovic won back-to-back five-set thrillers, edging Murray in the semifinals and outlasting Rafael Nadal in the longest major final on record to lift his fifth Grand Slam trophy.

The Serbian holds a 4-1 lead against Mathieu in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series. The top quarter includes the two leaders of the 2012 Davis Cup champion Czech Republic, fifth seed Tomas Berdych and 31st seed Radek Stepanek, 11th seed Juan Monaco, 15th seed Stanislas Wawrinka and 22nd seed Fernando Verdasco, a semi-finalist in 2009.

Fourth seed David Ferrer headlines the second quarter. Ferrer, the 2012 ATP World Tour titles and match wins leader, faces Olivier Rochus in his opener. At the bottom is a blockbuster first-round match-up between eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic and home favourite Lleyton Hewitt, who will contest his 17th straight Australian Open. Ferrer’s quarter also includes 10th-seeded Nicolas Almagro, 2012 quarter-finalist Kei Nishikori (16th seed), 24th seed Jerzy Janowicz, 2006 finalist Marcos Baghdatis (28th seed) and unseeded Grigor Dimitrov.

In the third quarter, third seed Murray starts his bid for back-to-back Grand Slam titles against Robin Haase. Murray finished runner-up in 2010 and 2011 and enters on the back of a successful title defence at the Brisbane International.

In the quarterfinals, Murray could clash with sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro, who plays a qualifier yet to be determined. In perhaps the most intriguing first-round meeting, 18th seed Alexandr Dolgopolov takes on Gael Monfils. Twelfth seed and 2010 semifinalist Marin Cilic and 14th seed Gilles Simon also feature.

Click here to view the Men's Singles Draw for the 2013 Australian Open.