17 Jan 2009

Draw announced for Australian Open

6:56 am on 17 January 2009

Roger Federer will begin his bid to equal Pete Sampras's record of 14 grand slam tennis titles against Italian Andreas Seppi in the first round of the Australian Open next week.

Top seed Rafael Nadal, who broke Federer's record 237-week stint as world number one last August, will meet Belgium's Christophe Rochus after the draw was made today.

Champion Novak Djokovic was drawn to meet a qualifier in his opening match but if the seeds live up to their billing, he could be on another collision course with Federer in the semi-finals.

Fourth seed Andy Murray, tipped to end Britain's 73-year wait for a men's grand slam champion, was slotted into the same half of the draw as Nadal and will open his account against Romania's Andrei Pavel.

Women's world number one Jelena Jankovic, entering a grand slam for the first time as the top seed, will open her campaign against Austria's Yvonne Meusburger.

Serena Williams, who defeated Serbia's Jankovic in the 2008 U.S. Open final and is the second seed at Melbourne Park, will play Yuan Meng of China.

Last year's champion Maria Sharapova withdrew from the tournament with a shoulder injury, while runner-up Ana Ivanovic was picked to face Julia Goerges of Germany.