The surprise element: David FerrerDavid Ferrer has entered the Big Four arena, dismantling the steady pattern of Novak, Rafa, Roger and Andy. He is the World Number 3 and appeared his first grand slam final at the Roland Garros in 2013. Had he not been a player in the dominating Big Four era, we could have seen him with many grand slams titles.
Hard-hitting Argentine: Juan Martin del PotroJuan Martin del Potro is probably one of the best players on the tour right now. He has the grit and determination of a champion and despite being just there, he fails. His 2009 US Open title, gave a stunning shock to Roger Federer. The Argentine has one of the most powerful serves in the men`s circuit and currently at number 5, he is definitely one of those to watch out for at Melbourne.
Still in his element: Roger FedererRoger Federer
Can he win it in again? One of the greatest players of all times is perhaps in his worst forms. After a dismal 2013, below his own standards, critics have written him off. His childhood idol Stefan Edberg is now his new coach and the dimension of his racquet has changed. Only time will tell, whether the Swiss Maestro is still competent to compete with the likes of Novak, Rafa, Murray and Ferrer. He comes to Melbourne losing the Brisbane international final to Lleyton Hewitt.
The Other Swiss: Stanislas WawrinkaIf the French Open saw the rise of David Ferrer, the US Open saw Wawrinka`s surge. He came of the shadow of his compatriot Roger Federer. Steadily and slowly, Stan has proved his mettle at the highest level, against top class players.
Though he is yet to reach a grand slam final, he still gave a neck-to-neck fight to Novak Djokovic, at the US Open semi-final last year. Wawrinka made sure that the then World No. 1 Novak faced a hard time making it to finals. His powerful back hand made headlines, and according to John McEnroe, it was the best on tour.
It would be interesting to see, how Stan after winning the Chennai Open, will meet his opponents at the blue turf.
Resurgent Scot: Andy MurrayAfter being underdog of the grand slams for past many years, Andy Murray finally won his maiden title at the US Open in 2009. He later added an Olympics gold to his kitty. But his best one was the 2013 Wimbledon win. He was man-of-the moment sorts in Britain.
However, Murray, after his epic win, was injury ridden for later part of the season. He missed the year-ending ATP Tour finals, and is coming to Melbourne after losing the Brisbane 2014 warm up tourney.
His form after Wimbledon has been questioned, may be due to injury, and this remains to be seen whether he will be able to recreate the Wimbledon magic in the same awe-inspiring way to clinch his third grand slam.
The Mighty Serb: Novak DjokovicNovak Djokovic has been invincible at the blue turf Down Under for last three years.
The 2013 Australian Open was his lone grand slam title last year. However, its yet not time to write off the Serb, currently in best of his forms. He proved his mettle when he defeated Nadal in the ATP World Tour finals last year. However, grand slams bring out the best in players, so Nadal, already at the peak will be a tough contender for the mighty Serb.
Nole in order to write his name in the league of greatest of all times, needs more grand slams to better Nadal`s 13 and Federer`s 17 wins.
He would definitely wish to emulate his mesmerising 2011 season when he won three grand slams. By the way, he is also on a 22-match winning streak at the ATP circuit right now.
We also have to see what the Boris Becker magic can do to the Super Serb.
On a roll: Rafael NadalThe stupendous success of Rafael Nadal in 2013 makes him one of the top in line for the Australian Open title. If he wins it, this would be his grand slam number 14.
After a miraculous come back and two grand slams in 2013, world number one Rafael Nadal is on a roll. He will come to Australian Open as the winner of Doha Open, 2014.
The 13-time grand slam champion, will look forward to add a second Australian Open trophy to his 2009 title. He missed this grand slam last year due to knee injury but made it to the final when he last appeared in 2012.
2013 was a prefect season for Rafa. After all, ending up as World no.1, winning 10 ATP titles and 2 majors is no mean feat.
Though this is not the clay king`s best surface to play on, his indoor performance last year has been a revelation.
The drama unfoldsAfter a lull in the tennis season, be ready for the first grand slam of the year- The Australian Open. The Grand slam of the Asia-Pacific, as the Australian Open is called, will see top tennis players contend for the coveted title.
The action will be high with lots of drama, upsets, ousters!
While you wait for the event to unfold, here`s a look at top contenders for men singles title.