The tennis community and sporting world yearns for another instalment in the Federer-Nadal rivalry but while form is temporary and class is permanent, a lack of preparation may rob the Australian public of another unforgettable event.
Stan Wawrinka is hungry to return to action.
"So (it was) a huge surprise, especially after the six months I had off, and what a comeback it was and it was definitely the highlight of the year. I wanted to be back on court, unfortunately the elbow wouldn't let me last week". They know I'm a professional tennis player.
Overall, the bottom half - with Federer, Djokovic, Wawrinka, Delpo and Zverev - is much stronger than the top.
Australian bad boy Bernard Tomic was fined a third of his £35,000 ($47,500) prize money for unsportsmanlike conduct at Wimbledon, after saying he felt "bored" and "couldn't care less" following a straight-sets defeat on day one.
Six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic, seeded 14th this year, has a couple of potential early obstacles with American Donald Young and potentially mercurial Frenchman Gael Monfils in the second round.
The draw for the January 15-28 tournament, the first grand slam of the year, takes place later on Thursday.
Her sister Venus, who lost the all-Williams Australian Open final previous year, has a tough opener against Belinda Bencic - who combined with Federer to win the Hopman Cup for Switzerland last week - and is also in the same quarter as U.S. Open victor Sloane Stephens.
Nadal heads defending champion Roger Federer at the top of the men's seedings, with Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki seeded one and two in the women's competition.
In a women's field notably missing 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, there appear to be many chances of a new Australian Open champion this year.
The 30-year-old, who won the year's first grand slam five times in six years until 2016, did not have it all his own way in a tighter second set and it went with serve to 5-4 when Djokovic broke again to wrap up the victory in 42 minutes. "You always have to beat the top players in order to get to the top".
"It's not an official match but still a test for me and good practice, that's the most important thing, that's the most important thing for the whole season", the 31-year-old Spaniard said, reaffirming his need to keep practising hard to be prepared for the Australian Open. "I certainly will hope I put myself in that position", Sharapova said.