It would bring so many returns from so many absences that it seemed primed to take a sport with holes in its draws and stitch the whole thing back together.
All eyes will be on Tomic when the former junior prodigy is among 13 locals trying to force their way into the Australian Open men's main draw when qualifying begins today. History shows that a top player has to be among the top, say among the top 25 for a period of time, to move into the top five.
Federer got the better of his opponent on that occasion and the Swiss will be strongly fancied to retain his title this year as he chases yet another entry into the history books.
The year's first Grand Slam has been hit by big-name withdrawals with the possibility of more...
Federer to reach 20-Slam landmark? Young has been an afterthought the last couple of years, but he is a talented player capable of putting up a fight. Williams is obviously the biggest name there, and is not yet ready for Grand Slam competition following the birth of her child. For the women's title, I am going to pick the French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, who wowed tennis fans with her aggressive style that led to her fairy tale victory in Paris.More news: Intel keynote misses the mark on Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities
The evergreen Swiss was a popular but unlikely victor upon his return from injury when he defeated Rafael Nadal in last year's final to claim his 18th grand slam title, before going on to triumph at Wimbledon in July. It could also be a good omen, however: Bencic was Serena's first opponent here a year ago en route to an eventual title.
Six-time champion Djokovic has a shot at surpassing Roy Emerson to become the only male player with seven Australian Open titles in tennis history. Both of them are on course to meet Djokovic in the last-eight.
World number ones Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep have been named top seeds for the first major of the season, Australian Open, which will commence from January 15 at the Melbourne Park. Roger did that very well this year .
Eighteen-year-old Alex De Minaur has put together an impressive summer with a semi-final appearance at the Sydney International, but will face a big challenge in 19th seed Tomas Berdych. I'm getting in the groove and getting my elbow in the match play and was the first best-of-three match that I've played since Wimbledon previous year.