A string of local hopes were also dealt difficult draws; 17-year-old Destanee Aiava will face world number one Simona Halep while fellow teenager Alex De Minaur, who has made the semi-finals at both the Brisbane and Sydney Internationals, will play Tomas Berdych. "I don't like usually going to draws because they freak me out".
There is also the question of the sport's ability to police itself credibly, which will soon be back in the spotlight with the lengthy and costly Independent Review of Integrity, created to investigate potential match fixing and corruption, expected to recommend this year that the game combine its anti-doping and anti-corruption organizations into a single independent entity.
However, he comes into the tournament short of match practice, having barely competed since an elbow injury forced his retirement at Wimbledon in July.
Federer's big concern would be against del Potro in the quarters.
"My dream was hopefully holding up a trophy of some kind, my home-town tournament in Basel or a Wimbledon trophy or being world No.1 of the ATP".
Isner's powerful serve wasn't enough to save him in his match with Chung, the winner of last year's ATP Next Generation finals.
In a women's field notably missing 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, there appear to be many chances of a new Australian Open champion this year. He followed his run to the final in Melbourne by winning the French Open and U.S. Open, splitting the Grand Slam honours with Federer for the year.
"I don't say I'm at 100 percent, I can only say that when I get the feel of a tournament".
Boris Becker has backed Roger Federer to match Novak Djokovic's record haul of Australian Open titles by defening his crown at Melbourne Park this month.
Another Australian who has enjoyed a strong build-up to the year's first Grand Slam is Ashleigh Barty.
Venus Williams, the No. 5 seed, was dealt one of the toughest possible opening draws, facing 77th-ranked Belinda Bencic, a teen prodigy whose ranking fell after she had left wrist surgery last year. She could face a daunting test in the third round from either Angelique Kerber, the 2016 champion, or Maria Sharapova, the 2008 winner.
As much as he might currently lack that sharpness and the ability to move supremely around the court, something which Djokovic has mastered throughout his career, his opponents will always recall previous encounters.