"The Australian Open hasn't been the quickest of hard courts in the past couple of years, and if I was the tournament director, there is no way they wouldn't keep it that way because it favours [Nick] Kyrgios, most Australians, and definitely Federer".
Third-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, who won her first Grand Slam title here a year ago after a tough final against Halep, is in the same section as Maria Sharapova and has Petra Kvitova at the top of her quarter. Things could get much tougher quickly, with a potential second-round meeting against wild-card entry Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who he beat in the 2008 Australian final, and with Denis Shapovalov in the same section.
British number one Kyle Edmund, who reached the semi-finals past year, has a hard draw against Tomas Berdych.
Serbia's Novak Djokovic, favourite to win the Australian Open, will play his first match of the tournament against a qualifier, according to the draw on Thursday.
"I always enjoy my matches against him", 20-time grand slam victor Federer said at the draw.
Second seed Rafa Nadal, under an injury cloud after pulling out of the Brisbane International, will open against unseeded local James Duckworth.
On the women's side, all eyes will be on Serena Williams as she aims for Grand Slam number 24.
In the quarter-finals, he could meet Australia's Alex De Minaur (26), Argentina's Diego Schwartzman (18) and the United Kingdom's Kyle Edmund (13). Halep has a tough opening encounter against Kaia Kanepi and a possible third rounder against Venus Williams.
Murray, who missed most of last season after hip surgery, is 230th in the world and used his protected ranking to enter the first Grand Slam of the year.
"The first time I came back here and hit on the courts, I thought, 'OK, I'm home,"' the third-seeded Wozniacki said of her return to Melbourne Park.