All eyes will be on boom teenager Bernard Tomic when he leads the locals into action on day one of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park.
Fresh from his breakthrough title at the Kooyong Classic, Tomic takes on Spanish 22nd seed Fernando Verdasco in the marquee match-up at Rod Laver Arena on Monday.
The carrot for Tomic is a possible fourth-round showdown with four-times Open champion Roger Federer and the 19-year-old says he’s up for the challenge.
“I’m ready to go,” Tomic said on Sunday.
“Confidence is the key, especially before a major.
“I’ve had a good preparation, good confidence over the last few weeks and feeling confident is a good bonus and a good key for my tennis.”
Four other Australians are in first-round action on Monday.
Greg Jones takes on Ukraine’s 13th seed Alexandr Dolgopolov, Ben Mitchell faces American 16th seed John Isner, Casey Dellacqua plays Serb Bojana Jovanovski, Olivia Rogowska is up against Swede Sofia Arvidsson and 15-year-old wildcard playoff winner Ashleigh Barty makes her senior grand slam debut against Georgian Anna Tatishvili.
Anastasia Rodionova plays world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki in the feature women’s night match after Federer kicks off proceedings on Monday evening against Russian Alexander Kudryavtsev.
Defending women’s champion Kim Clijsters will test her troublesome hip in her first match since withdrawing from the Brisbane International when she plays Portuguese qualifier Maria Joao Koehler.
Other big guns in action on day one include men’s second seed and 2009 champion Rafael Nadal against American qualifier Alex Kuznetsov and women’s third seed and Sydney International winner Victoria Azarenka against Britain’s Heather Watson in the first match on Rod Laver Arena.
Aussies in action
Men’s singles, first round
Bernard Tomic v 22-Fernando Verdasco (Esp)
Greg Jones v 13-Alexandr Dolgopolov (Ukr)
Ben Mitchell v 16-John Isner (USA)
Women’s singles, first round
Anastasia Rodionova v 1-Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)
Casey Dellacqua v Bojana Jovanovski (SRB)
Ashleigh Barty v Anna Tatishvili (GEO)
Olivia Rogowska v Sofia Arvidsson (SWE)