Add slower courts and the corresponding shift to longer, more physical rallies and the strain on the male players' bodies starts to become evident in the rash of high-profile injuries now plaguing the tour.
There may be no Andy Murray, but the men's tournament will have no shortage of returning stars who will all be aiming to start 2018 by claiming the Australian Open title.
"So this phase now, the last eight years have just been the best".
The Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal rivalry is probably the most sentimental of rivalries in tennis.
"This was a good test for me after some good training, that's the most important thing". "I'm excited about it and I've got a few days to practice".
Kyrgios would likely have to make it past former Australian Open runner-up and 15th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, provided the Frenchman avenges a US Open defeat to fast-surging 18-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov in round two. You're not just breaking down the body during matches; you're breaking it down during training.
"It's no point to say I could have done it or not". A handy consultant last season, four-time champion Andre Agassi is said to be now planning a late dash Down Under to re-join the team after a snowboarding mishap back home.
A seventh title in Melbourne would see Djokovic become the outright most successful male at the Australian Open - moving beyond Roy Emerson's haul of six crowns - but Becker expects Federer to move level with the duo instead.
It is only now, as the haze clears over the wreckage of the 2017 season during which many players crumbled with injury, coupled with the slow realisation that Federer and Nadal may be unable to repeat last year's exploits, that people seem to realise Djokovic's worth.
Federer, who is present at Thursday's draw, will open his title defence against Slovenian world No 51 Aljaz Bedene. The odds are particularly in his favor if the playing conditions in Melbourne are quick, as they were past year when he won the title by surprise after a six-month layoff.
China's Zhang Shuai was not as lucky, drawing 2017 US Open Champ Sloane Stephens as she attempts to recreate the success of 2016 when she made the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.
Australia's sole men's seed, Nick Kyrgios, takes on Brazilian Rogerio Dutra Silva.
Unseeded women have won two of the last three majors: Ostapenko at the French Open and Sloane Stephens at the U.S. Open. This trend started showing up from 2011 and is set to continue according to the study published recently.
But it seems more likely that the victor will come out of the Top 10, seven of whom have yet to win a major singles title: Simona Halep, Caroline Wozniacki, Elina Svitolina, Karolina Pliskova, Caroline Garcia, Johanna Konta and CoCo Vandeweghe.
"My wife in September gave birth to our second child and I could be there with her and with our children spend five months without separating".
Court, a Pentecostal pastor, has strong views on homosexuality.
"He's one of the best players to play the game".