2013 AUSTRALIAN OPEN PREVIEW
What: First Grand Slam tennis tournament of the year.
When, where: Sunday through Jan. 27 at Melbourne Park.
TV: ESPN2 and Tennis Channel
Last year: Novak Djokovic won his second straight Australian men's title, defeating Rafael Nadal 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-5. At 5 hours, 53 minutes, it was the longest Grand Slam men's singles final in history. On the women's side, Victoria Azarenka, playing in her first Grand Slam final, routed Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-0.
MEN'S TOP SEEDS
1. Novak Djokovic, Serbia
2. Roger Federer, Switzerland
3. Andy Murray, Britain
4. David Ferrer, Spain
5. Tomas Berdych, Czech Republic
6. Juan Martin del Potro, Argentina
7. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, France
8. Janko Tipsarevic, Serbia
WOMEN'S TOP SEEDS
1. Victoria Azarenka, Belarus
2. Maria Sharapova, Russia
3. Serena Williams, United States
4. Agnieszka Radwanska, Poland
5. Angelique Kerber, Germany
6. Li Na, China
7. Sara Errani, Italy
8. Petra Kvitova, Czech Republic
What will he do for an encore? The reigning men's major winner is not Djokovic or Federer or Nadal. It's Murray, the U.S. Open champion who became the first British man to win a Grand Slam title in 76 years.
Still the man to beat: Djokovic is aiming for a third consecutive Australian Open title. He would not see Federer or Murray until the final.
Notable injuries: Nadal, an 11-time major winner, still hasn't played on the tour since mid-2012 because of a left knee injury. John Isner, the top-ranked U.S. player, also will not play, citing a bone bruise in his knee. That leaves Sam Querrey ( 22nd) as the lone U.S. man ranked in the top 50 in the tournament.
Always a major player: Williams increased her career haul to 15 Grand Slam titles last year by winning at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. She has won five Australian titles (she was upset in the fourth round last year), more than any other woman in the Open era.
Tough road: Azarenka is likely to have to beat Williams to reach the final again after both were drawn in the same half. Azarenka is 1-11 against Williams.