The women's draw is one of the most open in years and predicting the winner is no small task. However, we take a look at the women players who are most likely to challenge for the Australian Open title.
World ranking: 1
Career singles titles: 18
Grand Slam singles titles: 0 Career prize money: $11,778,802
Best Australian Open result: Semi-finalist (2011)
- The Dane finished both 2010 and 2011 as the world number one, but her top ranking is under immediate threat from number two Petra Kvitova. Wozniacki has never won a grand slam, leading to constant questions about her status as the best women's player.
World ranking: 2
Career singles titles: 7
Grand slam singles titles: 1 (Wimbledon 2011)
Career prize money: $6,343,383
Best Australian Open result: Quarter-finalist (2011)
- Kvitova, closing in on the world number one ranking, won six tour titles including her first grand slam at Wimbledon and the WTA Championships in a breakthrough season in 2011. She had finished 2010 ranked 34.
World ranking: 3
Career singles titles: 9
Grand slam singles titles: 0
Career prize money: $9,040,357
Best Australian Open result: Quarter-final (2010)
- Azarenka comes into the Australian Open as one of the form players after beating China's Li Na in the final of last week's Sydney International tournament to claim her ninth career title.
World ranking: 4
Career singles titles: 24
Grand slam singles titles: 3 (Australian Open 2008, Wimbledon 2004, US Open 2006)
Career prize money: $16,643,327
Best Australian Open result: Champion (2008)
- Sharapova, who lost to Kvitova in the final of last year's Wimbledon, will be looking to put late-season injury problems behind her to lift her first grand slam title since the Australian Open in 2008.
World ranking: 6
Career singles titles: 5
Grand slam singles titles: 1 (French Open 2011)
Career prize money: $7,093,058
Best Australian Open result: Finalist (2011)
- Li is aiming to go one better than last year, when she reached the final of the Australian Open before becoming the first Asian to win a grand slam singles title, at the French Open. She reached the final of last week's Sydney International and says she has recovered her desire after a post-Roland Garros slump.
World ranking: 12
Career singles titles: 39
Grand slam singles titles: 13 (Australian Open 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, French Open 2002, Wimbledon 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, US Open 1999, 2002, 2008)
Career prize money: $34,767,934
Best Australian Open result: Champion (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010)
- Williams has faced major injury problems in the past two seasons but she remains the most feared women's player despite slipping down the rankings. She sprained an ankle in Brisbane earlier this month but says she feels good ahead of the start of the Australian Open.
World ranking: 14
Career singles titles: 41
Grand slam singles titles: 4 (Australian Open 2011, US Open 2005, 2009, 2010)
Career prize money: $23,788,657
Best Australian Open result: Champion (2011)
- Clijsters will be looking to put an injury-ravaged 2011 behind her and defend her Australian Open title, which was her fourth grand slam win. The former world number one says she intends to retire this year.