Murray starts with Soeda in Australia

Men's singles draw: Murray could face Federer in quarters
Women's singles draw: Robson to face No18 seed Flipkens

Andy Murray has been drawn against Japan's Go Soeda in the first round of the Australian Open. The Scot is seeded No4 for his first grand slam event since undergoing back surgery in September and takes on the right-handed 29-year-old who is ranked 112 in the world.

Murray is in Rafael Nadal's half of the draw, with Spain's Feliciano López a possible third-round opponent and after that Roger Federer potentially lying in wait in the quarter-final.

Murray has had little chance to gain match practice after undergoing surgery for a back injury in the autumn. His ATP Tour comeback ended with defeat by Florian Mayer in the second round of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open at the beginning of the year. Murray's run in the doubles also came to an early end after he and his Serb partner Nenad Zimonjic were beaten by Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares in the quarter-finals.

Nadal will play Bernard Tomic as he chases a 14th grand slam title. The Spaniard has a tough draw, with a potential meeting with the revitalised Lleyton Hewitt on the cards and a fourth-round clash with the No16 seed Japanese Kei Nishikori before a possible quarter-final with Argentina's Juan Martín del Potro.

Novak Djokovic will play Slovakia's Lukas Lacko in the first round as he looks for his fourth successive title at Melbourne Park. The No2 seed has a relatively kind draw until the quarter-finals, where a likely clash with the No8 Stanislas Wawrinka, who pushed him in a five-set marathon in last year's tournament, looms. After that Spain's David Ferrer or Tomas Berdych would be his probable semi-final opponent.

Laura Robson, Britain's only direct entrant into the women's draw, was given a tough first-round tie against Kirsten Flipkens. The Belgian is seeded No18 and had a surprise run to the semi-finals at Wimbledon last year. The winner of that match will face Vera Zvonareva or the Australian wild card Casey Dellacqua. Robson has yet to complete a match this season because of a left wrist problem but has been practising at Melbourne Park.

Serena Williams, the No1 seed, will play the Australian wild card Ashleigh Barty in the first round as she seeks her 18th grand slam title and sixth at Melbourne Park. The draw lines her up for a tough fourth-round match with Sam Stosur, who beat Williams in the 2011 US Open final.

The two-times defending champion Victoria Azarenka, seeded No2, will take on the Swede Johanna Larsson. Maria Sharapova, the No3, will play the American Bethanie Mattek-Sands, while the No4 seed Li Na, runner-up last year, will play a qualifier. © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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