The 22-year-old from Delhi, ranked 314 in the world, will be making his debut in a Grand Slam event but is unlikely to cause too many problems for the three-time runner-up who says he feels in good shape going into the two-week championship.
The match is scheduled second at the Margaret Court Arena on Monday with Murray in a decent run of form having won three ATP Tour titles during autumn last year while remaining unbeaten in the recent mixed team competition ??? the Hopman Cup ??? in Perth at the start of January.
The 27-year-old Scot is aware that is draw could have been easier with both Roger Federer and Grigor Dimitrov ??? who ended Murray???s Wimbledon defence at the quarter-final stage last year ??? in his section of the draw.
But a rejuvenated Murray is still upbeat about his chances: “I trained well in December – I changed some of the things I was doing in my training, which was fun.
“It was fresh ideas. That was good. I worked hard in the off-season and my body feels good.
“Obviously I have a very tough draw. If you have to play all of those players, obviously it’s going to be extremely difficult to come through that. I’m aware of that. That’s fine.
“But often in these events, you know, there are upsets. And then you just have to wait and see who you’re playing in each round because it doesn’t always work out as simply as that.???
Since winning Wimbledon in 2013, the No 6 seed in Melbourne has undergone surgery on a persistent back injury and struggled for form during the opening eight months of last year.
However, Murray appears have turned the corner and admits that playing at Flinders Park 12 months he was on a hiding to nothing: “Obviously last year was tough because I prepared fairly well but mentally it’s quite tough sort of going into your first Slam since surgery and playing long five-set matches.
“You don’t necessarily know how your body’s going to respond, so mentally you’re kind of worrying a bit and you’d be apprehensive.
“That’s not the case this year, which is good. And my preparation and training over in Miami and then in Dubai went very well.
“Practice this week’s been good. So, yeah, looking forward to getting started.”
One great champion not expecting to do well in Melbourne is Rafael Nadal who underwent surgery himself during autumn when he suffered from an appendicitis.
The 14-time Grand Slam winner faces a testing opener against the street-wise Mikael Youzhny, which will be the third match on the main Rod Laver Arena on Monday.
The 28-year-old from Mallorca was a beaten finalist in 2014 when victory would have made him the first player in more than 40 years to have lifted all four major trophies more than once.
But Nadal???s ambitions are less lofty this time around, despite being the No 3 seed: ???I don’t consider myself one of the favourites here. I would be lying if I say I feel that I am ready to win.
“I am not 100 per-cent confident yet. I am confident about my knees because they are working well.?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ??
“Every time you come back, you have doubts, you have the feeling that you are far from your best.
???The only thing I can say is I need to play better, yes. But the only way to play better is to win matches.”?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ??
Selected First Round ties:
1-Novak Djokovic (Srb) v Aljaz Bedene (Q) (Slo)
James Ward (Gbr) v 19-Fernando Verdasco (Esp)
Juan Martin Del Potro (Arg) v Jerzy Janowicz (Pol)
Lleyton Hewitt (Aus) v Zhang Ze (Chn)
Illya Marchenko (Q) (Ukr) v 8-Milos Raonic (Can)
4-Stan Wawrinka (Sui) v Marsel Ilhan (Tur)
9-David Ferrer (Esp) v Thomaz Bellucci (Brz)
Nicolas Almagro (Esp) v 5-Kei Nishikori (Jpn)
7-Tomas Berdych (Cze) v Alejandro Falla (Col)
Mikhail Youzhny (Rus) v 3-Rafael Nadal (Esp)
6-Andy Murray (Gbr) v Yuki Bhambri (Q) (Ind)
Dustin Brown (Ger) v 10-Grigor Dimitrov (Bul)
Yen-Hsun Lu (Tpe) v 2-Roger Federer (Sui)