Men to watch at the Australian Open, which begins Monday (rankings in parentheses):


Age: 24

Country: Spain

2010 Match Record: 71-10

2010 Singles Titles: 7

Career Singles Titles: 43

Major Titles: 9 — Wimbledon ('08, '10), Australian Open ('09), French Open ('05, '06, '07, '08, '10), U.S. Open ('10).

Last 5 Australian Opens: '10-Quarterfinals, '09-Won Championship, '08-Semifinals, '07-QF, '06-4th round.

Topspin: Heads to Melbourne Park looking for a "Rafa Slam" after winning last year's French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open. That would take his Grand Slam total to 10. The Spaniard is aiming to be the first man since Rod Laver to hold all four Grand Slam trophies at once, although it won't be a true Grand Slam — Laver won all four in a calendar year in 1969. Got 2011 off to a slow start by losing in the Qatar Open semifinals to Nikolay Davydenko, and then had his first practice cut short by rain in Melbourne last week.


Age: 29

Country: Switzerland

2010 Match Record: 65-13

2010 Singles Titles: 5

Career Singles Titles: 67

Major Titles: 16 — U.S. Open ('04, '05, '06, '07, '08), Wimbledon ('03, '04, '05, '06, '07, '09), Australian Open ('04, '06, '07, '10), French Open ('09).

Last 5 Australian Opens: '10-W, '09-RU, '08-SF, '07-W, '06-W, '05-SF.

Topspin: At last year's Australian Open, his 41st straight Grand Slam tournament, he became the fifth man after Jack Crawford, Ken Rosewall, Roy Emerson and Andre Agassi in the tournament's history to win four titles and first since Agassi in 2003. Started his 2011 campaign by winning the Qatar Open without dropping a set and becoming the first three-time winner in Doha following titles in 2005 and 2006. He had reached 23 major semifinals in a row until losing in the quarterfinals at last year's French Open to Robin Soderling. Federer also lost in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon and in the semis at the U.S. Open.


Age: 23

Country: Serbia

2010 Match Record: 61-18

2010 Singles Titles: 2

Career Singles Titles: 18

Major Titles: 1 — Australian Open ('08)

Last 5 Australian Opens: '10-QF, '09-QF, '08-W, '07-4th, '06-1st, '05-1st.

Topspin: Finished last year No. 3 for fourth year in a row, winning two titles, reaching quarterfinals or better in all four Grand Slams for first time in a season, including a final. He also led Serbia to Davis Cup title while going 7-0 in singles. Returning to the scene of his only Grand Slam win — in 2008 — but where he lost last year in the quarterfinals to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. His match record of 61-18 was respectable, but was 4-8 against top-10 opponents. Played with fellow Serbian Ana Ivanovic at the Hopman Cup this year and had qualified for the final, but missed out when Ivanovic had to pull out with an abdominal injury.


Age: 26

Country: Sweden

2010 Singles Titles: 2

Career Singles Titles: 7

Major Titles: 0

Last 5 Australian Opens: '10-1st, '09-2nd, '08-DNP, '07-1st, '06-DNP

Topspin: Started this year off with a win at the Brisbane International, beating Andy Roddick in the final, giving him a boost going into the Australian Open, where's he's performed abysmally. Lost in the first round at Melbourne Park last year in five sets to Marcel Granollers of Spain. Lost in the second round in 2009, the 1st in 2007 and didn't play in 2008 and 2006. But his stock has risen considerably in last year's other Grand Slams, losing in the French Open final to Rafael Nadal at the French and exiting in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.


Age: 23

Country: Britain

2010 Singles Titles: 2

Career Singles Titles: 16

Major Titles: 0

Last 5 Australian Opens: '10-F, '09-4th, '08-1st, '07-4th, '06-1st, '05-DNP.

Topspin: Murray is 0-2 in Grand Slam finals — both losses to Roger Federer, at the 2008 U.S. Open and 2010 Australian Open — and he's trying to become the first British man to win a major championship since Fred Perry in 1936. The pressure of that task showed when he made a tearful speech after last year's loss at Rod Laver Arena. Played with British teammate Laura Robson at the Hopman Cup two weeks ago, and the Kooyong exhibition last week to try to hone his game ahead of Melbourne Park.


Age: 28

Country: United States

2010 Singles Titles: 2

Career Singles Titles: 29

Major Titles: 1 — U.S. Open ('03)

Last 5 Australian Opens: '10-QF, '09-SF, '08-3rd, '07-SF, '06-4th, '05-SF.

Topspin: Considers the Australian Open his best chance of winning a second major to go with his 2003 U.S. Open, but has never gotten to the final here. Lost in the quarterfinals last year to Marin Cilic in five sets. A mild case of mononucleosis affected his play last year. His career record against fellow top-10 players is poor — 35-62 — which hasn't helped his chances in the big tournaments. Won the Brisbane International to start 2010, lost in the final to Soderling this year in the same event.