Federer beat Rafael Nadal in the final here previous year on his return from six months on the sidelines and is seeded No. 2 as he bids for a 20th Grand Slam singles title. He will play world No 100 Rogerio Dutra-Silva in what ought to be an untroubled opener before a projected third-round meeting with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
The American, who coached the 19-time Grand Slam victor between 2010 and 2013 after being in Pete Sampras' corner, believes that despite recently turning 36, you can never write-off the Swiss because he is such a special talent.
The best local hope is Nick Kyrgios, who came in from $19 to $13 to become the first Australian to lift the trophy on home soil since Mark Edmondson in 1976 on the back of his Brisbane International win on Sunday.
When asked if he will play in the Grand Slam that starts next week, he added: "For now, I'm in the tournament". "Now I know his secret", the 30-year-old said during the courtside interview. Rublev lost in straight sets to ATP world #1 and eventual champion Rafael Nadal in quarters.
"My coaches and I felt that I can beat these players, I have the capabilities to win these matches and win in big tournaments so I started playing Challengers more to get used to the big competition and the tough matches and it really helped my game and helped my mentality". I haven't played in six months.
Thiem, who made the fourth round at the Open previous year, was confident he would be 100 per cent by his first match.
"All these things all play into it but at the end of the day I've been in this position thankfully many times before".
Young gun Zverev had little luck in his first Australian Open draw as a top five seed with either Wawrinka, who plays Ricardas Berankis, or Novak Djokovic potentially standing in his path in the quarter-finals.
"I was going for my shots, but missing a bit today".
"It was a fantastic test for me to see where I am, to see what we have done as a team and whether it works on the court and it works pretty well", Djokovic said, via Yahoo!
"I'm just excited going back to Melbourne where I had my fairytale run a year ago".
"So I don't think both of us are thinking that far ahead but if it were to happen, of course.it could be happening again".
The Swiss will be gunning for a 20th grand slam title, but following Thursday's draw, the heat will be on for the 36-year-old in Melbourne.
He said: "I don't want to be overconfident".