Now we get to the first Grand Slam event of the season and I think it is an unfortunate spot that both Men's and Women's Draws look like they will be processions by the favourites. However, that may be too simply of a way of looking at things so below I will break down the draw and any outright picks I make from the tournament ahead of the Midnight start in the UK.
There are a number of very awkward matches for Ferrer and I have to say there is every chance he won't even reach the Quarter Final, let alone the Semi Final. The Spaniard could face Ivo Karlovic in the Second Round, Marcos Baghdatis in the Third Round and a very awkward Kei Nishikori in the Fourth Round and there is a chance that the latter two players can cause a surprise in my opinion.
Baghdatis' sole win over Ferrer came at the Australian Open in 2010, while Nishikori has beaten Ferrer in 2 of their 3 meetings, including at the US Open when he outlasted Ferrer in a five setter. I am expecting big things of Nishikori this season and I think he has the talent to break into the top ten this season and could be the man to take advantage of the section.
There are also a couple of other dangerous players in this section with Janko Tipsarevic and Grigor Dimitrov in the lower half and it will be interesting to see if the latter can make his first big breakthrough at Grand Slam level.
Pick: Might be a surprise in Kei Nishikori making his breakthrough at Grand Slam level
After winning the US Open to take home his maiden Grand Slam title, it is no surprise that Andy Murray is a leading contender to win the Australian Open this time. Murray can't be too disappointed with the early draw for him and I fancy the British player to get through to the Quarter Final without too much difficulty at all.
The biggest disappointment for Murray will be the fact that he has been drawn in the same half of the draw as Roger Federer, while the big threat in this section is Juan Martin Del Potro... There were definite signs in 2012 that Del Potro is recovering something of the form that took him to the US Open title in 2009 and I do believe he is the biggest threat to win a Grand Slam outside of the top four.
Murray has dominated the head to head between the players, but the Argentine does have the weapons that can cause a lot of problems for the World Number 3 and it should be a very fascinating Quarter Final if both come through their early matches.
To be honest, there aren't too many threats in my opinion with Marin Cilic likely the one player that could put a spanner in the works- however, he was beaten heavily by Juan Martin Del Potro throughout 2012 and I would fancy something similar here so the two top seeded players clash.
Pick: Andy Murray likely to be a little too consistent for Juan Martin Del Potro in the Quarter Final
The final quarter is where Roger Federer has been placed and I am already looking forward to a potential clash between him and Bernard Tomic in the Third Round. Both have made a few snippy comments about one another in the press and I think that could be a fascinating match to see how far Tomic has come in the last twelve months.
I do have a couple of concerns about Federer ahead of this tournament as he has not taken part in his usual preparations in Doha and there have been suggestions that he isn't at 100% at the moment in terms of his health. Federer should be comfortable early, but matches against Tomic and Milos Raonic could be very awkward and energy sapping both mentally and physically.
Other players that will be looking to take advantage of the quarter are the likes of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet, but both can be guilty of mental lapses that costs them matches. I do like Tsonga when is on fire and we have seen what he has done in Australia in the past, while he also has had the bettet of Roger Federer in Grand Slam events.
However, we may not see a real change in Tsonga until he has spent a few more months with Roger Rasheed and I still think the section is in Federer's control although I would take a watching brief as to how he looks early on.
Pick: Still got to fancy Roger Federer from the section.
There really isn't much to say about the Men's draw really this year and I can't see anyone other than the top two favourites, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, winning the tournament.
To that end, I think the better 'value' is picking Andy Murray to that end, but I do think he has a couple of potentially very tough matches whereas I believe Novak Djokovic has a more 'comfortable' path to the Final.
Therefore, taking the evens that Djokovic wins the tournament looks the 'boring' call and the one I will make.
One other pick I will take from the Men's draw is taking Kei Nishikori to be one of the surprise Semi Finalists by winning the second quarter of the draw at a decent price. The Australian Open is famed for a surprise player going deep into the tournament, especially as the early season form can make some of the top players vulnerable.
I think Nishikori could have a big year on the Tour if he stays healthy and he has beaten David Ferrer, the top seed in this section, at a Grand Slam in the past and he looks like someone that could very much go deep in this tournament.
MY OUTRIGHT PICKS: Novak Djokovic Winner @ 2.00 Paddy Power (4 Units)
Kei Nishikori Win Second Quarter @ 13.00 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
Agnieszka Radwanska @ 15.00 Coral (1 Unit E/W)
Angelique Kerber Win Fourth Quarter @ 6.00 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
Season 2013: + 5.97 Units (46 Units Staked, + 12.98% Yield)
Season 2012: + 49.21 Units (855 Units Staked, 5.76% Yield)
Season 2011: + 82.02 Units