Neither player can be happy about drawing the other playing in the opening round.
David Nalbandian, a finalist from ATP Auckland, will be making his return to Melbourne Park after a one year hiatus. Nalbandian is already ranked 21st in the world (January 17th, 2010 rankings) and that is a ranking he has achieved with only the help of one Grand Slam result from 2010 as he missed the Australian Open last season, Roland Garros, and Wimbledon.
To miss three of four majors and to still be ranked near the top 20 is truly impressive and any ranking points that Nalbandian picks up this year in those three tournaments will be a pure net gain as the Argentine promises to threaten the top 10.
However Nalbandian has bumped into a bit of bad luck as he picked up former world number one Lleyton Hewitt in the first round for the Australian Open. Hewitt may only be ranked 54th at this time but that ranking is not indicative of the danger that he poses as he made the 4th round in Melbourne last season.
A former runner-up at the event, Hewitt versus Nalbandian is a match-up neither player can be too happy about.
Hewitt is the one that has the edge in terms of head-to-heads as he has beaten Nalbandian in 3 of their 5 meetings with their most famous match being the Wimbledon final in 2002. However the Argentine has won their last two matches although they have not met since ATP Sydney 2009, a hard court win for Nalbandian.
A first round exit for one of these players is inevitable and if Nalbandian's form from Auckland is any indicator, it looks like Hewitt could be sent home early. The Argentine lost in the final to David Ferrer but that result does little to belie the fact that he, Nalbandian, ripped through the opening matches with ease.
This is a match in Rafael Nadal's quarter with Ferrer, seeded 7th at Melbourne, also in that section of the draw.