The 2008 Australian Open runner-up withdrew from the Qatar Open before it started with a wrist injury a month after leading his country France to victory in the Davis Cup.
When the draw came out, all eyes were pointed to one certain first round matchup, Belinda Bencic vs Venus Williams.
There is the issue of its structure, which, with multiple governing bodies and no final arbiter, severely limits its ability to make calendar changes. New rules reverting Grand Slams to 16 seeds from the current 32 are due to come into force in 2019. The seeding for the January Slam was announced on Wednesday (11th January) by the authorities that be. "For me, that's more the issue".
One man who might have been expected to have a major say in proceedings is Novak Djokovic, who holds the Open era record with six wins at Melbourne. "I'm just going to go out there, try to weather the storm, and try to play my game", De Minaur said.
The six-time Grand Slam champion - who coached the Serb to win six of his 12 majors - expects the 36-year-old to pick up where he left off from 2017 and to be the man to beat this season.
The women's draw delivered a more favourable result for Johanna Konta and Heather Watson, the two Britons who earned direct entry into the tournament.
So maybe Nadal versus Federer in the final isn't so much of a long shot after all?
Six-times Melbourne Park champion Djokovic, seeded 14th after missing the back end of last season with an elbow injury, will take on American lefthander Donald Young in his first match - with mercurial Frenchman Gael Monfils looming in round two.
Third-seeded Muguruza is in a difficult quarter containing former Australian Open champions Maria Sharapova and Angelique Kerber, and U.S. Open finalist Madison Keys.
A trip around Flanders shows how the concept of Flemish Masters is being redefined in the 21st century.
The 19-time Grand Slam winner is hoping to repeat his success from 2017 and establish himself as the greatest player the world has ever seen. Djokovic has won 10 of his last 13 matches on hard court.
Court, a Pentecostal pastor, has strong views on homosexuality. An early test against big serving John Isner, who is seeded 16th, is also on the cards for the numero uno. "That Margaret has definitely homophobic views does not take away those accomplishments, no doubt about that". We have been here before: the Bulgarian would appear in one, two or all of our lists in the recent past. "No, there's no chance".
Australian bad boy Bernard Tomic was fined a third of his £35,000 ($47,500) prize money for unsportsmanlike conduct at Wimbledon, after saying he felt "bored" and "couldn't care less" following a straight-sets defeat on day one.