Novak Djokovic launches his bid for Grand Slam history at the Australian Open on Sunday against 18-year-old qualifier Dino Prizmic as Aryna Sabalenka starts her title defence.

World No 1 Djokovic is gunning for his 11th Australian Open title and 25th major, which would take him clear of Margaret Court on the all-time list.

The Serbian, with 24 Grand Slams, is already the most-decorated player in the men’s game – two clear of the injured Rafael Nadal and four ahead of the retired Roger Federer.

Djokovic came within a whisker of completing a calendar Grand Slam last year, winning three titles and losing a thrilling Wimbledon final to Carlos Alcaraz.

The 36-year-old, who beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in last year’s title match in Melbourne, is the hot favourite again.

“I’m just hoping I can start the season in a way that I have been starting my seasons, most of my seasons, throughout my career, with a win here in Australia, in Melbourne,” Djokovic said.

“It’s my favourite place, no doubt – the court where I’ve done great things and achieved my greatest Grand Slam results.”

Belarusian star Sabalenka is used to playing at the sharp end of the majors after a breakthrough 2023 in which she won in Melbourne, finished runner-up at the US Open and made the semi-finals at Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

In doing so, she became the first woman since Serena Williams in 2016 to reach at least the semi-finals of all four Grand Slams in a calendar year.

Currently ranked No 2 behind Poland’s Iga Swiatek, the 25-year-old, who will face unseeded German Ella Seidel, said she is in good shape mentally and physically.

“I had an incredible season last year, improved a lot as a player and as a person,” Sabalenka said. “I did really a great pre-season. We worked a lot. I felt like we improved a lot.”

Former champion Caroline Wozniacki, granted a wildcard to compete, returns to the scene of her greatest triumph four years after her last appearance at Melbourne Park.

The 2018 Australian Open winner has joined a group of tennis mums juggling on-court commitments with the duties of motherhood, including Elina Svitolina, Angelique Kerber and Naomi Osaka.

The 33-year-old, who plays Poland’s 20th-seed Magda Linette, still believes she can mix it with the best despite her long absence from the tour.

“I think any time I step on a court, I believe I can win the match no matter who the opponent is across the net,” Wozniacki said.

Also in action on Day 1 at the Australian Open – which is a 15-day event for the first time – are men’s fourth seed Jannik Sinner, fifth seed Andrey Rublev, fresh from winning the Hong Kong Open, and women’s eighth seed Maria Sakkari.