A story with myriad plot lines is now before us in the shape of the Australian Open 2013 men's draw.
Like a phone directory-sized Choose Your Own Adventure book, the possibilities are endless.
Will three-time champion and world No.1 Novak Djokovic create Open era history and become the first man to win three in a row? Can second seed Roger Federer add to his tally of 17 majors? Or will we have a first-time Grand Slam champion?
History and the highlight reels tell us that 29 of the past 31 majors have been won by three men — Djokovic, Federer and the absent Rafael Nadal. The two exceptions are Juan Martin del Potro at the US Open in 2009 and Andy Murray just a few months ago at the US Open.
Djokovic and David Ferrer are joined by outside chances Tomas Berdych and David Ferrer in the top half of the draw, while third seed Murray and second seed Federer, along with Juan Martin del Potro and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, have taken up residence in the bottom half.
For Djokovic to add another record to his list, the top seed will first need to eliminate France's world No.58 Paul-Henri Mathieu - but from there it gets trickier.
Once ranked as high as No.15, dashing Spaniard Feliciano Lopez will most likely be waiting for Djokovic in the second round. Should the No.1 prevail, potential meetings with 15th seed Stanislas Wawrinka, fifth seed Berdych in the quarterfinals and Ferrer in the semifinals could follow.
For fourth seed Ferrer to meet Djokovic in the semis, he will need to first account for Belgium's Olivier Rochus before possible match-ups with Ivo Karlovic, 2006 finalist Marcos Baghdatis, 16th seed Kei Nishikori then 8th seed Tipsarevic in the quarterfinals.
In the bottom half of the draw, reigning US Open champion and third seed Murray has his chance to show the pundits that his win at Flushing Meadows was not a one off. Australian tennis legend Pat Cash believes Murray is a chance.
"He's hit his peak," Cash said of Murray at the draw ceremony. Murray will take on Dutchman Robin Haase in the first round. The pair has a 1-1 head-to-head record and Murray needed five sets to defeat the world No.54 at US Open 2011.
For Murray to go all the way he will potentially have to overcome sixth seed del Potro in the quarterfinals before a likely meeting with second seed Federer in the semifinals.
Of the two, Murray arguably has the easier draw. Federer starts with Frenchman Benoit Paire in the opening round but then faces a likely duel with wily Russian Nikolay Davydenko, a quarterfinalist here in 2010. Federer will take heart that he was the man who stopped Davydenko's run back then on his way to his fourth Australian Open title.
From there likely encounters with Australia's Bernard Tomic in the third round, Canadian boom server Milos Raonic, enigmatic Frenchman and 2008 finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarterfinals await.
The Tomic match looms as a potential threat for Federer — Tomic hasn't dropped a match yet in 2013 and defeated Tommy Haas and Djokovic in Perth. The young Australian loves the big stage and like their fourth-round encounter last year, expect this to be a Rod Laver Arena blockbuster should the two make it to the third round.
For the Australian contingent, 2005 finalist Lleyton Hewitt has a tough opener against Tipsarevic, Tomic takes on No.72 Leonardo Mayer, wildcard John Millman will play Tatsuma Ito, and Matt Ebden and Marinko Matosevic both have tough assignments in 23rd seed Mikhail Youzhny and 12th seed Marin Cilic respectively. John-Patrick Smith takes on Robin Haase, Luke Saville meets Go Soeda of Japan, while James Duckworth and Ben Mitchell were unlucky to draw each other.
FIVE MUST-SEE FIRST-ROUND MATCHES
David Goffin (BEL) v  Fernando Verdasco (ESP)
Goffin announced himself in 2012 as a player to watch, while Verdasco is a player fans love to watch. The Spaniard suffered a devastating first-round loss to Bernard Tomic in the first round last year. In contrast, Goffin will be making his Australian Open main draw debut.
 Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) v Matt Ebden (AUS)
Ebden was one set away from a surprise five-set win over Kei Nishikori in the second round last year before he ran out of steam and Nishikori ran over the top of him. Youzhny is a regular in the top 30 and a quarterfinalist in Melbourne, but he is prone to lose control of his emotions, making the cool and calm Ebden a chance.
Lleyton Hewitt v  Janko Tipsarevic (SRB)
It's a tough opener for Hewitt, who fell in the fourth round to eventual champion Djokovic last year, but surprisingly Tipsarevic has never made it past the third round in Melbourne. As Pat Cash said at the draw, get your coffee ready for this one, it's got marathon written all over it.
Marinko Matosevic (AUS) v  Marin Cilic (CRO)
It’s a chance for revenge for Australian No.1 Matosevic, who was beaten by Cilic when the Croatian fought back from two sets down to break the Aussie’s heart in New York last year. Both are tall, big hitters, so expect a bit of heat.
Gael Monfils (FRA) v  Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR)
Disappointing that these two enigmatic players meet so early, but great news for those who get to see what should be an entertaining duel. Monfils is unseeded this year after injury interrupted his 2012 season, so while Dolgopolov is the seeded player he isn't necessarily the favourite.