The Australian open starts on the 19th of January at the Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia. Across the road from where Pakistan won the cricket world cup in 1992. Hope they do it again, but it'd take a miracle, actually, more than one.

Out of the big four, Roger had the best start to the year winning the Qatar open. Nadal and Djokovic also played in Doha but failed to make a mark. Nadal lost first round to Berrer, whereas Djokovic lost in the quarters to Dr. Ivo amidst a sandstorm. High winds definitely made it even tougher to return the 6 foot 10 inch Croat's serve.

The Abu Dhabi exhibition tournament doesn't count for the players' records or points but still, the top guns face off and it's never really meaningless. Murray was crowned the winner after Djokovic did what Roger did to him in the final of the ATP world tour finals. Nadal beat Wawrinka straight sets but faced a crushing loss to Murray before.

Exhibition or not, Nadal's ego won't allow him to let anyone bagel him, let alone Murray, who's one of the few players on the tour who have given Nadal problems on hard courts all along. Especially before a major which will be on hard and where there is always a good chance of them playing each other in the latter stages. Nadal wouldn't want Murray to get mentally ahead. Although Nadal has a very good head to head record with Murray in the past, if they face each other at the open, the Abu Dhabi encounter will be fresh in both their heads.

Stanislas Wawrinka is the biggest contender besides the obvious big four. Even though Murray has dropped to no. 6, he is still many people's favorite. Stan, the defending champion, is looking solid even though he didn't put himself through the toughest competition. He played across the border in Chennai and won the tournament without much of a bother, winning every match straight sets. The courts were fast, which aren't ideal for Wawrinka's big swings. He likes to get set and launch his ground strokes, for which the grippy plexi cushion of Melbourne park is perfect.

The Australian contingent has 10 men in the singles main draw and 12 in the qualifying. A good number of players, but nobody with a chance of winning the tournament. It will be a fight between Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic for who goes further. Hewitt will need to avoid his usual five setters early in the tournament to have a chance against the big guns later. Not sure if he has it in him to beat the top guys even on a full tank actually.

Pakistan's pride, Aisam-ul-HaqQureshi, has not had the best of starts to the year. He is playing with one of the best doubles players in the world, Nenad Zimonjic. It doesn't mean they'll be very successful. It takes more than just two great players for a team to do well. Requires the players to get along well, understand each other's personality on and off the court. They need to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, their capabilities, and a lot more. Their games need to complement each other's. It needs to be a match, like a lock and key. It can take time.

Let's hope they click soon or Aisam's new hitting partner's job might be in jeopardy.