Professional tennis is back in full swing and players are preparing for the first grand slam of the year, the Australian Open. The featured photo is of German tennis player Angelique Kerber, the ninth ranked singles player in the world, and is from the Brisbane International — a smaller tournament in Brisbane, Australia, which started on Sunday. Kerber’s ferocious backhand in the above photo elevated her over Russia’s Daria Gavrilova 6-3, 7-5.

Now, Brisbane is one of five tournaments that are prior to the January 19 start of the Australian Open: basically, everything is building towards the first grand slam of the year. However, the first one is notorious for being the hardest to win: with the bounce back time between break and play being the shortest. The rest — Roland Garros aka the French Open is in May, Wimbledon is in June and the US Open takes place in late August — are all well into the season, with players already back to consistent play.

And worst of all, the five January tournaments are all over the place: from Brisbane to Doha (Qatar), many wonder what tournament is the best way to prepare? Is being closer to Australia better for resting purposes or should one work for the bigger purse in Qatar? As Reuters points out, who knows: but even in the past, living legends like Björn Borg, Venus Williams and John McEnroe all had great difficulty winning the Australian Open.

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So it is certainly a toss up about who will be hoisting up the grand slam trophy in less than a month. Could it be Serena Williams, who has not won since 2010, or will the women’s draw continue to be a carousel of winners? As for the men, will Novak Djokovic make it five out of the last eight years or could Stan Wawrinka shock the world again? I am not going to even attempt to guess, but the downright unpredictability of the Australian Open is what makes it so damn fun to watch.

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