Newly knighted Andy Murray will hope to gallop towards a maiden Australian Open title when the world number one kicks off his campaign against Illya Marchenko on Monday.
Murray holds the unwanted distinction of losing five Melbourne finals but he arrives on top of the world rankings and after being made a knight in Britain's New Year Honours.
The top seed will be expected to make short work of Ukraine's Marchenko, the 29-year-old world number 95 whom he beat in straight sets in the second round in 2011.
"He's not easy. He fights very hard. He's got a great attitude," Murray said. "Plays predominantly from the back of the court and moves well. He doesn't give you too many free points."
Murray the favourite for Australian Open. Pic: AFP
Roger Federer will play his first Grand Slam match since Wimbledon after returning from a six-month injury lay-off, the longest of his career, with a seeding of 17.
Federer, now 35, has a difficult draw and his first-round opponent on Monday is Austria's Jurgen Melzer, who won their last meeting -- albeit in 2011, in Monaco.
"I'm super-pleased that I made it here, that I have an opportunity to win matches. How many, remains to be seen," Federer said.
"I'm cautious myself. So, yeah, clearly an underdog this time around."
Angelique Kerber will defend her first Grand Slam title as she attempts to build on a break-out season when she also won the US Open and dethroned Serena Williams as world number one.
The German left-hander has opened the season in unconvincing fashion, with early defeats in Brisbane and Sydney, and she admitted life was very different on top of the rankings.
"It's a new challenge for me, that's for sure," said Kerber, who opens the evening session at Rod Laver Arena against Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine.
"But at the end, I'm still the same. I'm still doing the same things. I'm not thinking too much that I'm top-seeded now. When I'm thinking like this, the pressure is much higher."
Fourth seed Simona Halep is first up on centre court against America's Shelby Rogers, followed by Venus Williams' match with Kateryna Kozlova.
Federer's fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka, the 2014 champion, gets his tournament underway against Slovakia's Martin Klizan, while Japan's Kei Nishikori plays Andrey Kuznetsov.
Australian hopes lie with the combustible Nick Kyrgios, who is returning from a ban for "lack of best efforts" in a match in Shanghai and faces Portugal's Gastao Elias.