The 2013 Australian Open anticipates the likes of Roger Federer, Andy Murray and two-time defending champion, Novak Djokovic. Despite the absence of world No. 4 Rafael Nadal, excitement runs high for another great tournament.
The Aussie Open was traditionally played on grass from its advent in 1905-1987. It did not receive as much acclaim as Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, mainly because it was difficult to attract deep and talented fields for participation.
In 1988, the grass surface was replaced by hard courts, albeit a slower and higher-bouncing surface than the U.S. Open. This surface called Rebound Ace lasted 20 years until it was updated in 2008 to a similar surface called Plexicushion.
After 25 years of hard courts, the Aussie Open has grown in importance. It now attracts all of the top stars and is the important first of four Grand Slam events for a calendar year.
The following is a brief look at the dominant storyline for each of these tournaments. They will be ranked in terms of memorable matches and quality, especially in terms of the semifinals and finals.