As the first major event of the tennis calendar kicks off today, Scotland is yet again daring to dream that we may be on the verge of saluting our first ever Grand Slam singles champion.
The country has been here before. But as the first big event of the year gets underway in Melbourne, it would appear that 24-year-old Andy Murray arrived at the Australian Open with the best pre-tournament form of all the major contenders.
While defending champion and world number one Novak Djokovic opted to rest instead of playing a part in any of the warm-up competitions, Dunblane-born Murray underlined his credentials as a contender by claiming the Brisbane International tournament.
He laboured to three-set victories over Mikhail Kukushin and Gilles Muller in the first two rounds, but found his form to eliminate Bernard Tomic, Marcos Baghdatis and finally Alexandr Dolgopolov in straight sets to pick up his first title of the year at the first attempt.
Rafael Nadal has already decided that he will take no part in any of Spain’s Davis Cup matches this year – he is wary of the injury factor in a season where the Olympics will act as a fifth major – and struggled with his form in his first tournament of the season in Qatar.
The Spaniard was dumped 6-3 6-4 by Gaels Monfils after hinting at the tail end of last season that he may be falling out of love with the sport.
Roger Federer competed in the same event in the Middle East but was later forced to withdraw with a back injury before his semi-final clash with eventual champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
As promising as these early season incidents are for Murray, he will not be getting carried away. He has entered Wimbledon on the crest of a wave after winning the tournament's main warm-up tournament at Queens on two separate occasions but both times his dreams of a maiden grand slam title were halted by Nadal.
Rafa is a player, after all, who should not be written off. After struggling with a knee injury and being crushed in the 2010 Australian Open in straight sets by Murray, it was to be expected he would lose his place at the top of men’s tennis and be unable to ever get it back – his injuries are often a consequence of his brutal, energy-sapping style.
But the ten-time Grand Slam winner did anything but sink like a stone. Instead, he recovered spectacularly, won the season’s three other major tournaments and firmly established himself as the sport’s front-runner.
Federer meanwhile – despite his advancing years and recent back trouble – remains a huge threat. While the spasms he had in Qatar will be a major concern, he still entered the draw on a 20-match unbeaten run and as someone who holds the Indian sign over Murray on the big stage.
Outside of the top four, Tsonga, David Ferrer and Juan Martin Del Potro have also been tipped to be there or thereabouts come closing time Down Under.
Tsonga, a finalist in Melbourne in 2008, enjoyed a fantastic 2011 and began the season well by lifting his first title in Qatar.
World number five Ferrer is arguably the fittest man on the tour and showed he is capable of matching anyone on his day by beating Nadal in Australia last season, as well as dumping Djokovic and Murray out of the World Tour Finals in November.
Big-hitting Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro took a long time to recover from a wrist injury sustained in 2010, but on several occasions last year he pushed top players to the limit with his huge serve and powerful groundstrokes.
He is the only man outside of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic to have won a slam in the last six seasons and the top four will all be hoping to avoid a possible fourth round or quarter-final showdown with him.
Further down the field, Canadian Milos Raonic will be hoping to make a big splash in Australia after his heroics there last season. He was ranked 152nd in the world on arrival but after winning three qualifying matches and upsetting seeds Michael Llodra and Mikhail Youzhny he climbed over 100 places to 37th.
A hip injury suffered at Wimbledon prevented him from having any impact there or at the US Open and halted his rise up the rankings. However, the Canadian is now fully fit and won his warm-up tournament in Chennai without dropping serve. He enters the draw as the 25th seed and is a potential third-round banana skin for all of the main contenders.
If Murray is able to make the final leap and clinch his first grand slam title then a lot of the credit will surely go to his newly-appointed coach Ivan Lendl.
The Czech-born American is a tennis legend who won eight grand slam titles during a glittering playing career and is also in a unique position to assist Murray to get over his Grand Slam final hoodoo – Lendl lost his first four major finals before claiming his first one at the age of 24, the same age that Murray now is.
Indeed, the Scots star has spoken of his admiration for Lendl, and even addressed him as “Mr Lendl” while thanking his team of coaches for their hard work after he won in Brisbane.
It could be a sign that we are about to see a more emotionally controlled Andy Murray in Melbourne as for the first time he will have someone who has achieved more in tennis than he has in his corner.
Whether that will make him less likely to shout, scream and spit shrapnel in his team’s direction remains to be seen. But the early signs suggest that “Mr Lendl” will not stand for it.