Rising British star Jack Draper will face top seed Rafael Nadal in the first round of the Australian Open with Andy Murray also handing over a tough draw.
Murray faces 13th seed Matteo Berrettini, while Novak Djokovic returns to Melbourne against Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena.
Emma Raducanu, who suffers from an ankle injury, was drawn against Germany’s Tamara Korpatsch.
Raducanu, 20, could face seventh seed Coco Gauff in the second round.
The Australian Open, which is the first Grand Slam tournament of the new season, takes place at Melbourne Park from January 16-29.
Tough draws await Draper and Murray
Draper, 21, became one of the rising stars on the ATP Tour last year and the southpaw continued his rapid rise this season reaching the semi-finals in Adelaide.
But his debut in the main draw at Melbourne Park couldn’t have been much tougher.
Nadal, 36, is the defending champion and, despite struggling with injuries and losing both matches so far this year, remains a daunting prospect for most opponents.
However, the 22-time major champion also probably wouldn’t want to start against a young talent who has the power and confidence of the 40th-ranked Draper.
Former world number one Murray will also curse his misfortune.
The 35-year-old Scotsman impressed earlier on Thursday by beating Australia’s Alex de Minaur in an exhibition match at the Kooyang Classic, later saying he was hoping for a draw at Melbourne Park.
Instead, it was thrown against Italy’s Berrettini, whose big serve bothers most opponents and who reached the semis last year.
And the other Britons?
Raducanu, who shocked the world by winning the 2021 US Open as a qualified teenager, suffered what she described as more bad luck when she rolled her ankle in Auckland last week.
It led to questions about whether she would be fit to play in Melbourne, but she has been training on the pitch – despite looking somewhat hesitant at times – in recent days.
Raducanu is ranked one place below Korspatch at No. 75 in the world, but the 27-year-old German has never won a main draw match at a major tournament.
Cameron Norrie, the highest-ranked British player and the 11th seed, starts against French joker Luca van Assche, while the 25th seed Dan Evans takes on Argentina’s Facundo Bagnis.
Another tough draw for a British player saw Kyle Edmund – semi-finalist in 2018 but on his way back after three knee surgeries – come up against Italy’s 15th seed Jannik Sinner.
Harriet Dart, the only other Briton in the women’s draw, starts against Swiss 32nd seed Jil Teichmann.
Djokovic learns his opponent on the return
Nine-time champion Djokovic missed last year’s event after being kicked out of Australia in a row due to his vaccination status and returns after winning the title from Adelaide last week.
The 35-year-old Serb, who is also aiming for a 22nd major title that would equal Nadal’s men’s record, has lost just one of his last 25 matches.
The fourth-seeded Djokovic would only face Nadal in the final but could face local favorite Nick Kyrgios in the quarter-finals.
In the women’s draw, world number one Iga Swiatek, who reached the semi-finals last year, starts against recent German Wimbledon quarter-finalist Jule Niemeier.
Another eye-catching draw sees Belarusian Victoria Azarenka and American Sofia Kenin – both former champions – face off in the first round.