There is no question that the 2013 Australian Open has already presented the world with an interesting draw.
Where the trouble lies is in the bottom half of the draw—particularly Andy Murray's and Roger Federer's respective brackets.
The oddsmakers placed Federer as the third choice as a favorite to win the title, even before seeing the draw. Now with the draw out, perhaps his chances are even worse than that.
Here is his bracket of the draw that will be analyzed.
Surprisingly enough, the Swiss' opener could be a bit tricky as Benoit Paire has been playing better than ever as of late. Maybe he will drop a set in that encounter.
Then consider his possible Australian Open rematch from 2010 with Nikolay "The Machine" Davydenko, who has also been in sublime form lately, reaching the final in Qatar last week and narrowly losing to Richard Gasquet.
Though Federer has never had too much trouble against Davydenko (only losing one affair over the span of his career), don't count the resurgent Russian out just yet.
The third round may involve Aussie favorite Bernard Tomic or Martin Klizan—both of whom are also currently red-hot. Notice a pattern here? The first three matches may be against top performers who have nothing at all to lose.
Now into the fourth round and second week we go. The No. 2 ranked player and seed may meet the likes of Philipp Kohlschreiber (who has been in top form this week to make him Federer's fourth straight opponent who is playing well) or Milos Raonic, who has always given Federer trouble, though he always seems to lose in a third set tiebreak or by a narrowly conceded break.
Who knows? Maybe Lukas Rosol could pull through another string of upsets and look to knock out Federer this time around.
Assuming the Maestro makes it through the first half of his matches, his quarterfinal will actually be a little easier, judging by his standards. His potential opponents are Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (who may be too injured to make it that far even though this is his best tournament), Richard Gasquet, Tommy Haas or Thomaz Bellucci (the Brazilian likely has the best chance against Federer but he will unlikely reach the quarterfinals).
Andy Murray—who must (likely) go through Robin Haase, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Gilles Simon, Marin Cilic (this is trouble), Andreas Seppi, Marcel Granollers and Juan Martin del Potro—could be the Swiss' semifinal opponent.
This arduous path to the final is a nightmare for Federer and his fans, but you never know—his lack of playing warm-up tournaments may lead him to a fifth Aussie Open championship.
Follow B/R Tennis Community Leader and Featured Columnist, Jeff Cohn, on Twitter.