The 36-year-old, who beat Alexander Zverev on the way to Hopman Cup victory for Switzerland on Saturday, beat Rafael Nadal in an epic five-set final last year and will start as favourite to repeat the feat.
But his Spanish rival looks set to complete his recovery from a knee injury suffered last year to challenge him while Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka are also confident of playing for the first time since last summer.
Australian Open Tennis 2018 Live
So when are all the matches scheduled to take place in Melbourne?
Australian Open 2018 schedule
Monday January 15, first round
Tuesday January 16, first round
Wednesday January 17, second round
Thursday January 18, second round
Friday January 19, third round
Saturday January 20, third round
Sunday January 21, fourth round
Monday January 22, fourth round
Tuesday January 23, quarter-finals
Wednesday January 24, quarter-finals
Thursday January 25, both women’s singles semi-final and first men’s singles semi-final
Friday January 26, women’s doubles final and second men’s singles semi-final
Saturday January 27, women’s singles final and men’s doubles final
Sunday January 28, mixed doubles final and men’s singles final
A new tennis season starts Jan. 15 with the Australian Open. The Open will surely provide plenty of interesting storylines and matchups, with most of the top competitors healthy and ready to start the year on the right foot.
You can find all the information on the Aussie Open here.
When does the Australian Open start?
The Australian Open will start on Monday, Jan. 15, and runs for 14 days with the women’s final played on Jan. 27 and the men’s final on the Jan. 28.
How to watch
ESPN has full coverage of each day of the Australian Open. The men’s and women’s finals will be shown on ESPN, but every other day of the tournament is shown on ESPN2.
The Australian Open website also offers live feeds of the games via AO TV live, their own streaming service with features, highlights and post-game interviews.
Who will play in the Australian Open?
Men’s draw: Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka.
Women’s draw: Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova, Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka.
Serena Williams will not participate in the Aussie Open this year. Williams announced her decision to withdraw from the Open as she prepares for her return to tennis after giving birth to her daughter.
What happened last year?
It was a case of the old heads going the distance as both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal — two of tennis’ greatest ever — overpowered younger, hungry competitors to compete in the tournament final.
In the end, it was a five-set thriller between the two giants that lasted an incredible 3 hours and 38 minutes, with technology deciding the game as Federer hit a forehand winner down the line that resulted in a Nadal challenge. Upon hawk-eye review, the call was upheld and Federer won.
In the women’s draw, the Williams sisters (Serena and Venus) faced off in the final with Serena prevailing in straight sets to win her 7th Australian Open and her 23rd career grand slam.
All you need to know as Roger Federer looks to retain his title and Garbine Muguruza and Karolina Pliskova chase missing Serena Williams’ crown
Murray, 30, has reached the final of the Australian Open five times, but was beaten on four occasions by Novac Jokovic and once by Roger Federer.
And Serena Williams, 36, who had her first child in September, has withdrawn saying her fitness isn’t yet at the level she wants.
The American superstar is the reigning Australian Open champion.
All of which makes Federer favourite for the title, with Rafel Nadal and Djokovic sure to be hot on his heels.
Grigor Dimitrov and Alexander Zverev are also highly-fancied.
In the women’s event Garbine Muguruza and Karolina Pliskova are joint favourites to take Williams’ crown.
When is the Australian Open?
The Australian Open starts on Monday, January 15 in Melbourne. The final is on Sunday, January 28.
The Discovery-owned channel will show live action across Eurosport 1 and 2 throughout the fortnight.
The BBC also usually show the final and usually negotiate deals to show the semi-final if British No 1 Murray is involved.