Andy Murray
Murray cannot face big names Nadal and Djokovic until the semis

Andy Murray is seeded fourth at the Australian Open as he prepares to make his grand slam return after undergoing back surgery in September.

The Wimbledon champion and three-time Australian Open finalist was ruled out of the closing months of last season with the injury but will feature in this month's championship in Melbourne.

The 26-year-old has commented on his fitness in recent weeks after his return to the game saw him take on Stanislas Wawrinka and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

"I feel pretty good; a lot better than I did a few months ago. I just need to play more matches like this because the intensity's a lot higher than you can get in practice," he said.

"It was good to get two matches against top players. Everyone needs matches at this stage, especially me. It's been a perfect start and hopefully I'll get better."

The Scot has dropped only one place in the ATP world rankings during his time out and sits just under third-place David Ferrer.

The Wimbledon champion's route to a fifth final in six years will be blocked by the likes of world No. 1 Rafael Nadal and three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic but not until the semi-final stage.

Meanwhile, in the women's competition, British hopefuls Heather Watson and Johanna Konta eased through the opening round of qualifying with straight-set wins.

Watson beat Australian competitor Arina Rodionova 6-4 6-3 to progress to the next round where she will meet France's Stephanie Foretz Gacon.

The 21-year-old has begun her grand slam qualifying campaign on the back of a tough 12 months battling glandular fever.

"I was very nervous. I feel like in the middle I loosened up but my energy really dropped at the end because I think all the nervous energy had worn me out," she said.

"But I was able to close it out. I played quite well, I definitely can play better, and I think I'll play a lot freer in my next match.

"I don't know why I was so nervous, it's a while since I played in qualifying and I expect myself to do well and go far. I really like the tournament and play well on these courts so I think I'm putting too much pressure on myself."

Third seed Konta cruised through the first round of qualifying with a 6-2 6-1 victory over American Grace Min but Dan Evans is out of the men's draw after a 6-4 6-1 defeat to Marton Fucsovics.

The Australian Open 2013 begins on 13 January.