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Andy Murray by Getty Images
Once again Melbourne Park plays host to the Australian Open Championships as the 2014 Grand Slam year gets underway.
Reigning champions Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka will be out to continue their recent dominance down under but here we take a look at the British contingent out to make a splash in the heat of the Australian summer.
British No.1 Andy Murray returns to Melbourne for the first time as Wimbledon Champion.
Melbourne Park has been a scene of great success for the World No.4 with three appearances in the final (2010, 2011 and 2013) as well as a semi-final appearance in 2012 when he lost a five set thriller to Djokovic.
The Olympic champion fell in four tight sets to Djokovic in the final twelve months ago which was his 6th appearance in a major final. Six months later on Centre Court at the All England Club Murray defeated the Serbian World No.1 in straight sets to lift his historic first Wimbledon title.
After recent back surgery the 26 year-old will be out to go one step further on the Rod Laver Arena and lift his third Grand Slam crown.
In the qualifying draw Dan Evans and James Ward will each be determined to join Murray by earning berths in the main draw.
Evans’ previous appearance in Melbourne came in 2010 when he fell in the second round of qualifying. The 23 year-old from Birmingham had a career best year in 2013 breaking into the top 150 for the first time.
The high point came in New York when Evans came through qualifying before taking out 11th seed Kei Nishikori and Bernard Tomic to reach the third round. The British No.2 will be out to replicate that result in Melbourne.
British No.3 James Ward has competed at the Open for each of the last five years with his best result coming two years ago when he came through qualifying before falling to Slovenia’s Blaz Kavcic.
Ward reached three ATP Challenger finals in 2013 and reached a semi-final in Melbourne in October. He will be looking to achieve further success on the Australian hard courts.
British No.4 Dan Cox will be making his first appearance in Grand Slam qualifying outside of Wimbledon when he begins his quest to gain a place in the main draw.
The 23 year-old from Lincoln reached a career high ranking of 245 in October last year.
British No.1 Laura Robson enjoyed a strong year at the majors in 2013 and will be out to replicate the feat this year.
The two-time junior finalist in Melbourne defeated 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova en route to the last 32 twelve months ago and reached the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time at Wimbledon after defeating 10th seed Maria Kirilenko in the first round.
Robson, who turns 20 later this month, was seeded at the US Open and reached her projected place in the third round before breaking into the top 30. The left-hander will be motivated for more success in Melbourne.
Johanna Konta and Heather Watson will aim to reach the main draw when they line up in qualifying.
Heather Watson battled into the last 32 in Melbourne twelve months ago and will be eager to replicate that feat this year as she looks to regain her place in the top 100.
Konta is close to breaking into that elite bracket for the first time. The 22 year-old was edged out in the second round of qualifying last year.
Tara Moore may also get an opportunity in the qualifying draw with the 21 year-old currently being an alternate.
Britain will be well represented in the Men’s doubles event with a number pairings confident of success in Melbourne.
Following Ross Hutchins’ recovery from illness he and Colin Fleming will make their first Grand Slam appearance together since the 2012 US Open.
Dominic Inglot and Jamie Murray will both look to major impact with partners they excelled with during 2013. Inglot and partner Treat Huey were quarter finalists at the US Open as were Murray and Australian partner John Peers.
2012 Wimbledon champion Jonny Marray will also partner an Australian in the form of the experienced Paul Hanley. The duo were semi-finalists at the Paris Masters 1000 in 2012 where they defeated the Bryan Brothers.
A trio of Brits will look to make a major impact in the Girl’s singles event with Katie Boulter, Isabelle Wallace and Freya Christie all in action.
Boulter and Christie will both be making their debuts in Melbourne while Wallace competed in the qualifying draw two years ago.
In the Girl’s qualifying draw Emily Arbuthnott and Katie Swan will hope to make it a quintet of British players in the main draw.
In the Boy’s qualifying draw 17 year-old Rhett Purcell will be making his debut at Melbourne Park.
For the second major championship in succession there will be four British players competing in the wheelchair events.
The quartet of Gordon Reid, Jordanne Whiley, Lucy Shuker and Andy Lapthorne will all be out to impress in Melbourne after all having very successful seasons in 2013.
Twelve months ago in Melbourne Lapthorne was runner-up in the quad singles while Shuker was a finalist in the women’s doubles.
The wheelchair events will take place at Melbourne Park from 22nd – 25th January read more here.
Look out for coverage from Melbourne on the website and follow @BritishTennis on Twitter and like Official British Tennis on Facebook