Mathieu first up for Djokovic in Melbourne hat-trick quest
January 11, 2013 -- Updated 1225 GMT (2025 HKT)
Defending Australian Open champions Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka at the draw in Melbourne
- Novak Djokovic to begin defense of Australian Open title against Paul-Henri Mathieu
- Djokovic gunning for third straight Melbourne title after epic win over Rafael Nadal last year
- Victoria Azarenka to start defense with a clash against Monica Niculescu
- Current world No. 1 Azarenka in same half of the draw as Serena Williams
(CNN) -- Novak Djokovic will kick start his quest for a third straight Australian Open crown against Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu in Melbourne.
The Serbian world No. 1 is in a different half of the draw to Andy Murray, who registered his first grand slam success at the U.S. Open last year, and the British No. 1 could face Roger Federer in the semifinals.
The Swiss veteran, who has 17 major titles to his name, takes on Mathieu's compatriot Benoit Paire in round one while Murray plays Dutchman Robin Haase.
With 11-time grand slam winner Rafael Nadal absent due to a stomach virus Spain's main hopes rest with fourth seed David Ferrer, who begins against Belgium's Olivier Rochus and could face Djokovic in the semis.
Read: Changing of the guard: Will 'big four' become two?
Czech fifth seed Tomas Berdych squares off against American Michael Russell while home favorite and double grand slam winner Lleyton Hewitt takes on Serbian eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic.
Funny: Open Court outtakes
Tennis stars face quickfire challenge
Is Serena Williams the greatest ever?
In the women's draw defending champion and world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, from Belarus, could face nemesis Serena Williams in the semifinals.
Williams defeated Azarenka on her way to the Wimbledon title and an Olympic gold medal in 2012. The 31-year-old also beat Azarenka in the U.S. Open final and at the season-ending WTA Championships in Istanbul.
Azarenka's first match is against Romania's Monica Niculescu. Williams, a five-time Australian Open champion, will tackle another Romanian, Edina Gallovits-Hall.
Maria Sharapova, seeded second, will take on fellow Russian Olga Puchkova in round one and could face Polish fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the final four.
Radwanska, who won the Auckland title earlier in January, kicks off her campaign against Australian Bojana Bobusic.
Former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, from Denmark, faces a tricky opening encounter against Sabine Lisicki while 2010 French Open winner Francesca Schiavone plays 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.
Kvitova told CNN of the draw: "I practiced with Schiavone only yesterday! She is a dangerous player. She has a great slice from the backhand side and great spin from the forehand.
"She also has a strong kick serve so I have to be prepared for every shot. She is very fit and can run a lot so I will not play rallies with her.
"I think it's a great challenge. It will be a good match for the first round and I look forward to playing here in Melbourne again."
The Australian Open gets underway in Melbourne on Monday.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
September 11, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 0636 GMT (1436 HKT)
Marin Cilic follows in the footsteps of his coach Goran Ivanicevic by claiming a grand slam crown for Croatia, winning the U.S. Open.
September 14, 2014 -- Updated 1334 GMT (2134 HKT)
Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Canada and tennis? Really? Yup. The North American tennis power balance is swinging away from the States.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1252 GMT (2052 HKT)
As a player he was as fiery as his hair -- and as Novak Djokovic's coach, Boris Becker says he has to battle to keep his emotions in check.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1102 GMT (1902 HKT)
Tennis great Boris Becker says he was stunned by the level of criticism he received after being appointed as Novak Djokovic's coach.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1101 GMT (1901 HKT)
"I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 0114 GMT (0914 HKT)
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0746 GMT (1546 HKT)
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.