Leading contenders for women's title:
Victoria Azarenka (BLR)
World ranking: 1
Career singles titles: 14
Grand Slam singles titles: 1
Career prize money: $16,857,277
Best Australian Open result: Champion (2012)
Azarenka comes into the Australian Open as defending champion and world No 1 after winning six WTA titles in 2012. But she withdrew from this month's Brisbane International with an infected big toe, casting doubt on her Melbourne chances.
Maria Sharapova (RUS)
World ranking: 2
Career singles titles: 27
Grand Slam singles titles: 4 (Australian Open 2008, French Open 2012, Wimbledon 2004, US Open 2006)
Career prize money: $23,151,623
Best Australian Open result: Champion (2008)
Sharapova, who lost to Azarenka in the final of last year's Australian Open, will be looking to build on a solid 2012 that saw her win three WTA titles and briefly return to world No 1. She pulled out of Brisbane this month with a collarbone injury.
Serena Williams (USA)
World ranking: 3
Career singles titles: 47
Grand Slam singles titles: 15 (Australian Open 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, French Open 2002, Wimbledon 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012, US Open 1999, 2002, 2008, 2012)
Career prize money: $41,960,896
Best Australian Open result: Champion (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010)
Despite ranking third in the world, Williams remains the most feared women's player, underlined by a dominant 2012 when she won Wimbledon, the US Open, the WTA Championships and the Olympics. She started 2013 by claiming the Brisbane International title.
Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)
World ranking: 4
Career singles titles: 11
Grand Slam singles titles: 0
Career prize money: $11,091,677
Best Australian Open result: Quarterfinals (2008, 2011, 2012)
Radwanska had a perfect start to 2013, clinching the ASB Classic title in Auckland, following up on wins in Dubai, Miami and Brussels last year as well as being runnerup to Williams at Wimbledon in her first Grand Slam final.
Li Na (CHN)
World ranking: 6
Career singles titles: 7
Grand Slam singles titles: 1 (French Open 2011)
Career prize money: $9,428,784
Best Australian Open result: Runnerup (2011)
Li is aiming to go one better than 2011 when she was runnerup in Melbourne. She comes into the tournament after finishing 2012 as a top-10 player for the second straight season. She began this year in top form, beating Klara Zakopalova to claim the Shenzhen Open.