Australian Open 2017: Andy Murray gunning for Melbourne glory

Andy Murray
Andy Murray will play Ukraine's Ilya Marchenko in the first round

It was a dreich day at the draw. Never thought I'd hear myself say that in Melbourne...

Two years ago we were all melting in a heatwave. Not so this time around - it rained on and off for most of the day, causing some problems for those still trying to qualify.

But even that couldn't dampen Sir Andy Murray's spirits as he contemplates his first grand slam as world number one and top seed.

It's a tournament he loves and the feeling seems to be mutual. They were 10-deep around his practice the other day; Murray was mobbed, well and truly, as he tried to make his way back to the locker-room.

Selfies, autographs, congratulations on the knighthood, all as he was trying to recover from a hard practice session with Ivan Lendl and Jamie Delgado.

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BBC Scotland tennis reporter Kheredine Idessane

Australian Open draw

Ending the year 'top dog'

Murray's never been as popular and he's never been as well-prepared for a crack at this Australian Open.

A career-best winning streak last season brought him a record nine titles in a year which he ended, of course, as the game's top dog. There's likely to be plenty of bite to go with his customary bark Down Under.

He's had to compose five runners'-up speeches on finals day here - what chance he'll have the last word as winner this time around? The draw at least gives him the chance to fine-tune his game in the early rounds.

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Andy Murray mobbed by fans in Melbourne

First up, on Monday, is Illya Marchenko of the Ukraine, just inside the top hundred in the world. Marchenko didn't take a set from Murray in their only other meeting, also in Melbourne, six years ago - I wouldn't expect him to start now.

After that, there could be a reunion with the man who famously knocked the Scot out in the first round of the Beijing Olympics, Yen-Hsun Lu of Taipei. Murray has won their subsequent four encounters without dropping a set.

Rounds three and four could throw up Sam Querrey, the American who stunned Novak Djokovic and everyone else at Wimbledon last year, and the fast-improving Frenchman Lucas Pouille.

And then it starts to get really tasty.

Stan Wawrinka
Stan Wawrinka is capable of beating anyone on his day

If the seedings are correct, we'd be in for a re-run of the US Open quarterfinal when Kei Nishikori prevailed in a five-set New York classic last year. If they're not, it could well be Roger Federer lining up against Murray in the last eight, if the great Swiss rediscovers his form after a lengthy injury lay-off.

No-one's talking about Stan Wawrinka, and I don't really know why. The Swiss has won as many slams as Andy Murray; and the Australian Open was the first of his three in 2014. He could be the top seed's semi-final opponent, and is capable of beating anyone if he brings his best.

If the world's top two manage their way through the draw, we'd be in for Andy Murray versus Novak Djokovic.

The Serb, of course, won all four previous finals here. The old foes have contested the last two finals and it would be no surprise to anyone if they made it a hat-trick.

Sir Andy Murray up against Novak Djokovic
Will Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic lock horns once again?

Djokovic would be trying to become the first man in tennis history to win seven Australian Opens.

For Murray, it would be a case of sixth time lucky.

The Scot's cried a good few times on the podium over here; if he does share the spotlight once again in the finale a fortnight on Sunday, here's hoping his speech is interrupted by tears of joy this time.

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