There will be no shortage of exciting action and compelling storylines when the 101st edition of the Australian Open gets under way on Monday morning in Melbourne.
The top-ranked men's player in the world, Djokovic will find winning his third consecutive Open title to be a difficult task, as the field he finds himself in is full of established stars and up-and-coming youngsters.
It doesn't get any easier for the defending champion on the women's side, top-ranked Victoria Azarenka. Like Djokovic, she finds herself in a field that features past champions and legitimate challengers for her crown.
Let's take a look at everything you need to know heading into what promises to be an incredible start to the 2013 season.
Where: Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia
When: Sunday, Jan. 13 (7 p.m. ET) to Sunday, Jan. 27
Watch: ESPN and ESPN2, BBC
Live Streaming: ESPN3
Men's Players To Watch
The best men's player in the world today, the 25-year-old Serbian has won this tournament in three of the past five years and enters this tournament as the favorite to win it all once again.
Relentless on the court, his ability to consistently fight off points has proven to be both exhausting and demoralizing for his opponents.
After advancing to the finals of the Australian Open in both 2010 and 2011, falling each time, Murray fell to Djokovic in an epic semifinal last year, one that lasted nearly five hours and left both players mentally and physically drained.
Murray would get his revenge, besting Djokovic for the US Open crown in September, but finally winning the Australian Open is something that the 25-year-old Scot would love to cross of his list of things to do.
He might be on the wrong side of 30, but 31-year-old Roger Federer remains one of the best players in the world and a threat to win any tournament in which he's entered.
With four Australian Open titles already on his resume, winning a fifth would break the tie he finds himself in with Andre Agassi for the second most all-time victories in the tournament, moving within one title of Roy Emerson, who won six Open titles between 1961 and 1967.
Women's Players To Watch
Like Djokovic, it's hard to bet against the defending champion and top-ranked player in the world.
The 23-year-old from Belarus not only won the Australian Open in 2012, but she followed it up with strong performances at Wimbledon and the US Open.
With 15 singles Slam championships, including five Australian Open titles under her belt, 31-year-old Serena Williams remains the best American tennis player in the world and one of the premier talents on the women's side of the bracket.
She'll be looking for redemption after losing to Ekaterina Makarova in the fourth round of last year's tournament.
Like Williams, 25-year-old Maria Sharapova is a threat to win every tournament in which she plays.
She's already won every major Slam title around, including the Australian Open back in 2008. While she lost to Azarenka in the finals in Melbourne last year, the 6'2" Russian has the ability to dominate her opposition regardless of the weather conditions or the playing surface.
Sleeper: Laura Robson
One of the youngest competitors in the field, the 18-year-old British phenom finished 2012 with a strong showing at the US Open, advancing all the way to the fourth round before being eliminated.
With a full year of experience under her belt, the southpaw could set the tone for the rest of the year with a strong showing in Melbourne.
ESPN2 will begin its broadcasts on Sunday, Jan. 13, at 6:30 p.m. ET. The network will run regular broadcasts starting Monday from 9 p.m. ET until 7 a.m. ET daily, with few exceptions, replaying the best matches of the day each afternoon at 2 p.m. ET through the first week of the tournament.
|DATE||START TIME (EST)||EVENT|
|Sunday, Jan. 13||7:00 p.m.||Singles First Round|
|Monday, Jan. 14||7:00 p.m.||Singles First Round|
|Tuesday, Jan. 15||7:00 p.m.||Singles Second Round|
|Wednesday, Jan 16||7:00 p.m.||Singles Second Round|
|Thursday, Jan. 17||7:00 p.m.||Singles Third Round|
|Friday, Jan. 18||7:00 p.m.||Singles Third Round|
|Saturday, Jan. 19||7:00 p.m.||Singles Fourth Round|
|Sunday, Jan. 20||7:00 p.m.||Singles Fourth Round|
|Monday, Jan. 21||7:00 p.m.||Singles Quarterfinals|
|Tuesday, Jan. 22||7:00 p.m.||Singles Quarterfinals|
|Wednesday, Jan. 23||7:00 p.m.||Women's Singles Semifinals/Men's Singles Semifinal No. 1|
|Thursday Jan. 24||11:00 p.m.||Men's Singles Semifinal No. 2|
|Friday, Jan. 25||9:00 p.m.||Women's Final|
|Saturday, Jan. 26||3:30 a.m.||Men's Final|
Rick Weiner is a member of B/R's Breaking News Team.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this article mistakenly reported several facts that have since been rectified, including Azarenka's 2012 accomplishments and how many times Nadal has won the Australian Open (once, not twice).