Betting against one of the 'Big Four' lifting the Australian Open men's crown would be foolhardy, but you'd need a crystal ball to predict the outcome of the women's draw.
The top three female players have a combined total of just one Slam and last year there were four different champions in tennis’s blue riband events, as the women's game waits for its next big thing.
The women’s draw is one of the most open in years and adding to the sense of uncertainty in Melbourne are recent injuries to superstars Kim Clijsters and Serena Williams, who share 17 major titles but are both outside the top 10.
Belgium's Clijsters, the 11th seed, is defending champion at the year's opening Slam, after beating Li Na in the 2011 Melbourne final, before the Chinese player went one step further at the French Open.Second seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic won on grass at Wimbledon and Australia's Samantha Stosur took the US Open title. The name missing from the 2011 list of winners is top seed Caroline Wozniacki, yet to win her first Slam, whose world number one ranking is under imminent threat from Kvitova.
Fourth seed Maria Sharapova is another player with Slam pedigree but won the last of her three major titles in Melbourne in 2008 and the Russian is battling injury as she struggles to shake off a left ankle problem.