Andy Murray to begin season against James Duckworth in Brisbane
Kyle Edmund opens campaign against Ugo Humbert or Yasutaka Uchiyama
By Raz Mirza
Last Updated: 01/01/19 3:41pm
Andy Murray aims to kick-start his career in Brisbane this week after an injury-plagued 2018 when he opens his campaign against James Duckworth.
Three-time Grand Slam winner Murray only played six tournaments last season and arrived in Australia early to acclimatise and prepare as he continues his recovery from hip surgery.
The Scot, who won the Brisbane crown in 2012 and 2013, has been training hard to regain the sort of fitness levels that saw him capture nine titles in a stellar 2016 campaign and reach the No 1 ranking.
"There are still things that I want to achieve," he said. "Whether I am capable of that, I don't really know.
"I'm in a better place than I was a few months ago."
The 31-year-old had intended to play Brisbane at the beginning of 2018, but was forced to withdraw on the eve of the tournament and pull out of the Australian Open due to the hip problem.
Murray spent the off-season training in the heat of Miami to prepare for what can be gruelling conditions in Brisbane and then Melbourne. He hasn't played since pulling out of the China Open in September, with his ranking plunging to 256.
He will open his campaign against Australian Duckworth, whose list of surgeries outstrips Murray's own, before a potential date with fourth seed Daniil Medvedev from Russia.
Murray is in the top half of the draw, where Spain's Rafael Nadal could lie in wait at the semi-final stage.
World No 2 Nadal also battled injury worries throughout 2018, but enjoyed success as well by winning a record-extending 11th French Open in June and reaching the semi-finals both at Wimbledon and the US Open.
But in November he announced he needed an operation on his right ankle and only resumed training two weeks ago.
The season-opening tournament boasts a stellar field, with Kei Nishikori, Nick Kyrgios, Grigor Dimitrov and British No 1 Kyle Edmund also in contention as they prepare for the first Grand Slam of the year at Melbourne Park.
Edmund will open up against the winner of the match between qualifiers Ugo Humbert of France and Japan's Yasutaka Uchiyama.
The women's field includes seven of the world's top 10 - defending champion Elina Svitolina, US Open winner Naomi Osaka, Sloane Stephens, Petra Kvitova, Karolina Pliskova, Kiki Bertens, and Daria Kasatkina.
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