This year's Australian Open was shaping up to be one of the most underwhelming editions, with numerous top-ranked players being forced to withdraw from the tournament because of injury.
Although Djokovic said he was delighted with his performance, especially his serve, he acknowledged that he was still not in ideal shape.
It's also worth noting that Djokovic's second appearance of the day - in the Tie Break Tens event at Melbourne Park - brought him a 10-6 defeat at the hands of home favourite Lleyton Hewitt, who has been retired for nearly a year.
The Swiss will be gunning for a 20th grand slam title, but following Thursday's draw, the heat will be on for the 36-year-old in Melbourne.
Wawrinka, who defeated Rafael Nadal to win the 2014 Australian title, has slipped to nine in the world rankings, having not played since his first-round Wimbledon loss to Russian Daniil Medvedev in July.
They will all take heart from 12 months ago when Federer, just back from a six-month layoff, claimed the title by beating Nadal, who has also fought off injury demons, to reach the final.
Federer, who is fresh off securing a third Hopman Cup title for Switzerland, is eyeing a sixth Australian Open crown in Melbourne this month.
"With Roger, I always felt that he was so gifted and able to do so many things so comfortably that as long as he stayed healthy and driven and enjoyed what he was doing, there was no reason he couldn't claw his way back", adds Annacone.
The Spaniard had called off his 2017 season due to a knee injury after playing his last match at the ATP Finals.
"There's going to be certain players who are very underdone, and you don't expect them to do particularly well", Cash said.
"I can't stop smiling on the outside and on the inside, it's such a great joy and I've missed it", Djokovic said. "I don't think there's anybody else that you could say is a favourite other than Roger at the moment".