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And so it begins…

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One match at a time

THE Andy Murray mantra, in the words of Led Zeppelin, remains the same despite his elevation to world No.1 and knight of the realm going into the Australian Open: Take each match as it comes.

Draws can open up.

Others predict a potential third tear-fest against Roger Federer Š—– returning after six months out Š—– in the quarter-finals, Murray breaking down after losing finals in Melbourne (2010) and Wimbledon (2012) against the Swiss.

And a possible last-four encounter with Stan Wawrinka and a re-run of his ATP World Tour final against Novak Djokovic which saw the Scot reach the summit

But the 29-year-old, who also completed an All-England and Olympic champion in 2016, is totally focused on his little-known first-round opponent Ukrainian Illya Marchenko on Monday.

Sir Andy, looking for his fourth Grand Slam crown, said: Š—“IŠ—Ève had tough draws in the past at Grand Slams, but they donŠ—Èt always work out that way. Draws can open up.

Š—“The year I won Wimbledon was a perfect example. I had Roger and Rafa Nadal potentially in the quarter-finals and when they both lost I was told, this is his only chance to win Wimbledon. This is his best chanceŠ—È.

Š—“I went from having no chance at the beginning of the week to having my best chance ever. You just have to play each match as it comes.Š—

Murray has been defeated in five Melbourne finals. Kyle Edmund meets Santiago Giraldo, Dan Evans faces Facundo Bagnis and Alijaz Bedene takes on Victor Estrella Burgos.

Jo Konta, MurrayŠ—Ès female equivalent as British No.1, will play Belgian Kirsten Flipkens in her first match match.

World No.10 Konta, 25, who made the semi-finals last year, goes in fresh from lifting the Sydney International title.

Konta is drawn in the quarter featuring six-time title winner Serena Williams and Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia.

Heather Watson and Naomi Broady meet seeded home players Sam Stosur and Daria Gavrilova.

Outside of the Brits, Djokovic begins his defence against Fernando Verdasco.

Verdasco beat fellow Spaniard Nadal at the same stage in 2016. He was defeated by Djokovic in Qatar recently but had five match points.

Ninth seed Nadal, takes on Florian Mayer of Germany. He could meet Canadian Milos Raonic, beaten by Murray in the QueenŠ—Ès and Wimbledon finals last summer.

*Quotes from the London Evening Standard.






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