Qualifier first for Murray

And his fellow Brit James Ward has been handed a tough draw against the 31st seed and former semi-finalist Fernando Verdasco of Spain.

Murray is seeded sixth for the event, which gets underway on Monday, and could again face Roger Federer in the quarter finals, having lost to the Swiss great at that stage last year.

Federer will begin against Yen-Hsun Lu in what could be an attractive first round encounter.

Murray will face the winner of the match between Aussie Marinko Matosevic and a qualifier in round two, and the 32nd seeded Slovakian Martin Klizan is Murray???s most likely potential third round opponent, according to the world rankings.

Grigor Dimitrov beat Murray at Wimbledon last year and the duo could meet in the fourth round in Melbourne.

Spanish star Rafael Nadal beat Federer in last year???s semis before losing to Stan Wawrinka in the final and he is also in that half of the draw.

However, Nadal is still working his way back to top form and fitness after missing the second half of the 2014 season due to injury and he could be given a tough test by Mikhail Youzhny of Russia in the first round.

Wawrinka is in the other half of the draw and he will start his title defence against Marsel Ilhan of Turkey.

Novak Djokovic lost to Wawrinka in an epic quarter-final last year as the Swiss went on to claim his maiden Grand Slam title and the pair are in the same half of the draw once again.

Meanwhile the World No 1 will begin his campaign against a qualifier.