Djokovic has been Mr Consistency in the past two years, reaching the semi-finals or better in the past 10 grand slam tournaments. But some rocky performances in the lead-up may have shaken his confidence. The World No.1 will become only the second man in history to win three consecutive Australian Open titles if he lifts the trophy on January 27th.
The queen of the court, Williams is an overwhelming favourite to take out the Australian Open title this year. Coming off a successful campaign at the Brisbane International, where she dismantled Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in under an hour to take the straight-sets victory, Williams' physical superiority and mental steeliness is sure to light up the court.
A Hopman Cup upset win over Novak Djokovic has quelled the doubters of polarising young talent, Bernard Tomic. Australians will happily put all past indiscretions to bed if he can continue his form and put in a decent performance at the Open. When it comes to Tomic, there's only one thing standing in his way - himself. If he can get that under control, expect him to surprise in Melbourne.
The Russian experienced a complete return to her best in 2012, after shoulder surgery and a form slump held her back just a few years ago. Despite withdrawing from the Brisbane International in January due to a collarbone injury, Sharapova is set to make her mark in Melbourne. Back to No. 2 in the world and with a career Grand Slam under her belt, the second seed for the Open cannot be underestimated.
Momentum is a valuable thing in sport, and Andy Murray is carrying a heap of it. With the Grand Slam monkey finally off his back, and an Olympic gold medal to his name, Murray looks primed to have a big year in 2013. And what better way to kick it off than at the Rod Laver Arena? He is a two-time finalist at the Open and it would be a brave man to bet against him going one better this time around.
She might not be a household name in Australian tennis just yet, but the 16-year-old wildcard from Ipswich, Queensland made headway in January with a shock win over Francesca Schiavone in their Hopman Cup singles match. Last year Barty only went as far as the first round in the majors, but perhaps this year will be different. At her home major, Barty is definitely one to watch.
Not much needs to be said about Federer. The winner of a record 17 Grand Slams is back for his 14th Australian Open and despite fears that his game was on the decline, his 2012 season proved he can still match it with the best. Always a crowd favourite, the Aussies will be out in force to cheer on the Fed Express and witness his masterful strokeplay.
The best female player in the world held the Australian Open trophy last year, downing Maria Sharapova in the final. A toe infection suffered in Brisbane may be considered a setback but with a tight race for the World No. 1 ranking also on the line in Melbourne, you get the feeling it won't stand in the Belarussian's way of claiming the Open title once again.
Juan Martin Del Potro
Tall, agile and possessing a killer serve, the Argentine has beaten every big name in tennis there is, but has only won one major title (US Open 2009). An up and down season has allowed Del Potro to slide under the radar, but don't be fooled, he means business and will not go down easily in Melbourne.
Sam StosurStosur didn't quite live up to expectations in 2012 after a breakthrough 2011 season. At home, Stosur's record is less than great, however maybe 2013 will be the year she ends the hoodoo and stakes her claim to win the Australian Open. If she can bat away the mental demons and back herself, there's no reason why she can't take centre stage in the women's final and come out on top.
Daisy down - Thomas out of action for 'Pies long term
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