Andy Murray must overcome defending champion Rafael Nadal should he wish to reach his first French Open final after being handed a tough draw for the Roland-Garros event.

The Brit, who is yet to claim a Grand Slam title in his eight-year professional career, begins his campaign against Japanese World No. 69 Tatsuma Ito in round one, which could set up a second round meeting with Jarkko Nieminen.

Bernard Tomic and old advisory Richard Gasquet lie in wait, before the Spanish pair of clay-court specialist David Ferrer and World No.2 Nadal stand between the Scot and the final.

Andy Murray
Murray has a tough draw in front of him.

The other half of the draw sees Novak Djokovic, who is chasing a fourth consecutive Grand Slam victory, face Potito Starace, while Rodger Federer starts off against Tobias Kamke.

Other stand-out ties in the men's draw sees American rookie Ryan Harrison meet home favourite Giles Simon and Andy Roddick play Nicolas Mahut.

Murray, who was seeded fourth for the tournament, can consider himself unfortunate to have been placed in a tough half of the draw, however all eyes will be on whether he can improve on his semi-final finish last year, under new coach Ivan Lendl.

Lendl claimed the Roland Garros crown three times during his illustrious career, and his experience could prove vital to Murray going that step further in 2012.

Nine-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker has however called on Murray to ditch the French event given the physical demands and the 25-year-old's toils in previous years.

"I worry where Andy is physically," Becker said. "Back pain is a disaster on clay. On any other surface you can handle it because you can finish matches quickly, but on clay you have to be ready to play for two or three hours every day.

"We saw Andy couldn't handle that in Rome. I'm not a doctor, but if he's not fit, the question must be: 'Why play at all?'

"Nobody can win seven matches over the next fortnight without being in decent physical condition, not even Rafael Nadal. So if he has no realistic chance of winning a Grand Slam title, why not get some rest?

"With Wimbledon and the Olympics coming up, that is two big reasons for Andy to think about his long-term health."

In the women's draw, Li Na will begin her defence against Sorana Cirstea, while World No.1 Victoruia Azarenka faces Alberta Brianti.

After battling through the qualifiers, British No.3 Heather Watson could face 2008 champion Ana Ivanovic, and elsewhere Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams are likely to clash in the quarter-final after being paired in the same section of the draw.