New Delhi:A New Year, a new surface but the same story again, with Roger Federer once again the overwhelming favourite for the 2008 Australian Open title. A stomach bug hampered his preparation. However, not many will bet against Fedex bagging his 13th career grand slam title.
Once again touted as Federer's main rival, Rafael Nadal will just be hoping for an injury free tournament this year. The quarterfinal finish last year is still his best at Flinders Park till date.
Novak Djokovic, will hope to hit the headlines more for his play this time instead of imitating players. He accounted for 1 of Federer's 9 defeats in 2007, and could meet him again in the Semis.
Having reached the semifinals of the Australian open thrice in the last 5 years, Andy Roddick will again be a contender even though Federer holds a 15-1 record over the American.
The women's draw is definitely more competitive. Having missed last year's event due to her divorce, World number 1 Justine Henin is the favourite to win her second title here.
Serena Williams surprised everyone last year, winning the title on her comeback trail. Seeded 7th this time, she looks good to retain her title.
Meanwhile last year's runner-up Maria Sharapova is determined not to end up as the bridesmaid once again. Fellow Russian and 2nd seed Svetlana Kuznetsova cannot be discounted either.
Ana Ivanovic had fun playing tennis at the top of the MCG. And she will have to be at the top of her game if she wants to win her first title at the nearby stadium. She and Jelena Jankovic will lead the Serbian Challenge.
It could be plain sailing for Sania Mirza till the third round. But the 31st Seed hasn't crossed that hurdle here, and will struggle to do so this year, considering she could meet Venus Williams in Round 3.
Finally, Leander Paes will partner Aussie Paul Hanley and Mahesh Bhupathi teams up with Mark Knowles. Both Indians are looking to win their first ever Australian Open men's doubles crown.