Harriet Dart is thrilled to face childhood idol Maria Sharapova

While Andy Murray
's impending departure sends a frisson of anxiety through British tennis, the GB singles contingent at this year's Australian Open
is the relatively healthy total of eight.
Not since 1988 have there been so many Brits in the draw here, their number swelled by Harriet Dart and Dan Evans coming through the qualifying event.
Evans needs little introduction but Dart, 22, is a new face whose profile now faces a sudden elevation because she has drawn former champion Maria Sharapova
. They will play the opening match of the tournament on the main Rod Laver Arena.
'I am super excited to play in the main draw and Sharapova has been my idol since I was very little,' said Dart, who hails from Hampstead.
'She always looked so nice when she was playing, and also the way she holds herself on the court, her presence. I have always looked up to her. It will be cool to play her.'
The opening day will also be an important one for British No 1 Kyle Edmund, last year's semi-finalist, who has a difficult first round against Tomas Berdych. 
Edmund's ranking will drop into the low twenties were he to lose, but he insisted he was unperturbed by the prospect. 'It's a number on a sheet of paper, I'm definitely not losing sleep about it,' he said.
Cameron Norrie is another British player featuring on day one, fresh from having reached his first ATP Tour final in Auckland, which he lost 6-4 6-2 to Tennys Sandgren of the US.

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