Australia has been good to Novak Djokovic. Very good. Melbourne Park is the scene of both of his first and arguably greatest Grand Slam wins and could be the place where he creates even more history.
Should Djokovic lift the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup in two weeks’ time, not only will he remain No.1, he will also become the first player in the Open era to win three consecutive Australian Open titles.
It's a feat that has been achieved at the other three majors on multiple occasions but, surprisingly, not in Melbourne. Djokovic is one of nine players to win two Australian Open titles in a row. Over the next fortnight he has the opportunity to go one step further than the other eight.
"From my personal experience, I like playing here because it's after probably five, six, seven weeks of break with no official tournament," Djokovic said.
"So you get time to recover, regroup, recharge your batteries mentally, physically, try to get ready for the new season with four, five weeks of good practice. You come here fresh. You're motivated and inspired to play some good tennis."
The Serbian superstar looks relaxed. Facing a packed media room at Melbourne Park on Saturday just minutes after entertaining 15,000 people as part of Kids Tennis Day he took questions and replies as fluently and as his return of serve.
If he is nervous about what's to come, he's hiding it incredibly well.
"I feel this is a point where everybody starts from the same line, so I don't really put myself in a position to have more pressure than the others have, to be honest," he said.
Djokovic started his 2013 campaign in Abu Dhabi where he defended his title, then flew to Perth for the Hopman Cup where he and teammate Ana Ivanovic made it to the final but fell to determined Spanish duo Fernando Verdasco and Anabel Medina Garrigues.
Djokovic's form in Perth was much like the running of a perfect race – he started slowly but finished strong. A loss to Australian Bernard Tomic was more of a blip than a catastrophe because two nights later he showcased his wares in demolishing former world No.2 Tommy Haas.
"We haven't changed by much the daily routines in preparing for the new season for the Australian summer. Generally it's all the same,” he said.
"I have the same team of people around me that are making sure that I'm prepared well, so I'm just looking forward to start playing here in the Australian Open."
His first opponent will be France’s Paul-Henri Mathieu, who Djokovic will not be taking lightly.
"Maybe he's lower ranked at this moment but he was a top 20 player. He knows how it feels to play on a big stage. There is no underestimating him, that's for sure. I'm going to try to focus from the start," the Serbian said.
From there Djokovic's road to history gets a little bumpier: potential meetings with 15th seed Stanislas Wawrinka in the fourth round, fifth seed Tomas Berdych in the quarters and possibly David Ferrer, the fourth seed, in the semis, won't be easy.
Then there's the final, which could see one of Roger Federer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Juan Martin del Potro or Andy Murray standing on the other side of the net. Or maybe it won't. Djokovic is aware that Melbourne is more than capable of throwing up left-field candidates during the finals.
"This Grand Slam is also known for a lot of surprises, players who have been reaching the final stages who are not expected to, especially in the last six, seven years," Djokovic said.
One person who is guaranteed to not be there on the second Sunday is world No.4 and Australian Open 2012 finalist Rafael Nadal. Sidelined with a virus, there will be no reprise of last year's classic meeting between the two.
"It is definitely a loss for the tournament, for tennis, for sport in general not to have Rafa playing still on the court. It's been, what, seven months since he's played his last official match,” Djokovic said.
"I'm sure if he felt he was ready enough to play this tournament, best-of-five in the Australian summer that can be brutal and difficult to play, then he would come. He probably felt he needs more time to recover. I wish him a speedy recovery."
With Nadal out of the picture, the fab four is down to three – it either opens the door for another player to fill the void left by Nadal, or makes it slightly easier for either Djokovic, Federer or Murray to claim not just Melbourne but all of the majors as they did in 2012 when they won one Grand Slam title each.
"It's probably expected that the three of us, and Nadal of course, would still be main candidates to win all the major titles,” Djokovic said.
"But, you know, I wouldn't underestimate Del Potro, Tsonga, Ferrer, Berdych, anybody who is in top 10. I'm sure there's new young players coming up like Tomic, (Grigor) Dimitrov, (Milos) Raonic.
"We'll see. We'll see. The Australian Open always brings something interesting."