While the $160 million redeveloped Margaret Court Arena will put the Australian Open on a new level, it's the balls that could decide January's winner.
In good news for Australia, doubles legend Todd Woodbridge has forecast the more exciting balls as enhancing the chances of local star Samantha Stosur.
Taking possession of the 2014 tournament balls six weeks before the year's opening grand slam, Woodbridge appeared surprised by how they had responded to the Melbourne Park plexicushion.
"This ball's a little lively," he said.
"I think it's a good thing and it's an advantage to two people.
"One of them's Rafa (Nadal) because he likes to get a bit more spin ... this ball's going to allow him to really spin the ball and work it hard.
"It also helps Sam Stosur.
"She's had her best results at the US Open on a very fast-ball hardcourt where the ball jumps up and she can get the kick serve and real heavy off the forehand."
Woodbridge said it gave Stosur more opportunity to shine at the Australian Open than in previous years.
After failing to crack the second week of a grand slam in 2013, Stosur returns with less pressure, without a foot injury, better lead-in form and a "smart" schedule.
"The Hopman Cup, getting three matches under her belt, then going to Hobart, which is a tournament she could win and, even if she doesn't, she'll win rounds," he said.
"Sam is an absolute momentum player so, when she's winning matches, keeps rolling. She's got to get that start."
Helping to launch the $160 million new showcourt on Thursday, Woodbridge said the proximity of crowd to court would be favoured by all.
"This is going to be one of the most sought-after courts from players because it's intimate - it's close," Woodbridge said.
Woodbridge denied it was an indulgence, saying the public would benefit and saying it would keep those hoping to pry away a grand slam at bay.
"You can't build tradition within a couple of years. It takes a long time to get the stories, the drama and this court will start to build its own drama from this year on," Woodbridge said.
"People like Nick (Kyrgios), if he's not on Rod Laver Arena, will be playing out here. You'll get all the Aussies on these types of showcourts."
Woodbridge has worked extensively with Jelena Dokic as she continues her rehabilitation from a serious wrist injury.
He suggested the Open could come too soon for Dokic, although she will try to qualify, instead aiming at the French Open and Wimbledon main draws.
"The strategy's always been to get to a point, by June-July, get to the top 100 and playing majors."
Dokic will head to Perth as an alternate for the Hopman Cup before Australian Open qualifying.