The Grand Slams have been dominated by Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray in recent season but is it time for one of the outsiders to claim a big prize?
Any fan of music knows who the Fab Four are. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr took a little band, called The Beatles, to unprecedented highs of critical and popular acclaim in the Swinging Sixties.
Just so, any fan of modern-day tennis knows who their Fab Four are. Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have dominated world rankings and grand slams alike for the better part of a decade.
But as in any super group, some members stand out more than others - and sometimes at different times. Lennon was The Beatles original genius, setting the band's course and raising the bar. He was later joined and matched in talent by McCartney and the two of them changed the face of rock forever.
Similarly, Federer took tennis to its zenith, creating a rarefied air his opponents had to learn to breathe. Nadal was the first to learn to play at this altitude, fashioning a more physical game which at first competed and then defeated the grace and guile of the Swiss Master. It was a duopoly which captured both the imagination and the lion's share of the slams. From mid-2004 until 2011, Roger and Rafa won 23 of the 26 majors contested.
Back on planet pop, lurking in the long shadows of Lennon and McCartney, was George Harrison. No less talented, he never really got the credit he deserved until finally breaking out in both solo and collaborative careers.
As for poor old Ringo, well, every band needs a drummer. He was happy to be along for the ride, even if his talent dwindled in comparison with his peers.
Like Harrison before him, Djokovic was initially caught in the riptide of tennis' two titans, but would later go on to do his best work. Much of that came in 2011, a year The Serbinator collected three of the four slams, stole the No.1 ranking and fine Masters Series titles. His talents at last gaining their due reward.
And what of tennis' Ringo, our own Andy Murray? Well, every foursome needs a fourth and Murray has been marching to the beat of a dissatisfied drummer most of his career. His ability unquestionable; his application beyond reproach; his results a wafer shy of greatness: he is a more limited Starr.
Can Murray set the record straight at this month's Australian Open? The recent coaching appointment of Czech legend, Ivan Lendl, has led many to dream. Like Murray (who's lost three grand slam finals and made at least the semis of all the slams last year) Lendl endured his own period of top-flight frustration as a player, before finally breaking free of the shackles to win eight major titles.
If he can pass on that secret to his new charge, there may still be time to break his duck. Murray certainly enjoyed the perfect warm-up for Melbourne the Brisbane International, despite complaining of stiffness and general competitive rust.
Djokovic, also on ostensibly impressive form for his Abu Dhabi return, still found time to complain about the niggles and fatigue which curtailed his landmark season. Nadal has been even more forthright about his problems. Having shaken off the rust from an ailing shoulder to beat Federer for third place at the same exhibition tournament, Nadal reaffirmed his intention to take a break after the Australian Open to give his shoulder time to recover for a summer which could define his career.
Reports of Federer's resurgence, however, may have been greatly exaggerated. The Fed reeled off three wins towards the backend of 2011, but this was a GOAT feeding on scraps. After a term of under-achievement, the Greatest Of All Time, whose career has been marked by avoiding serious injury, was then forced to withdraw from the semis of last week's Qatar Open, citing back spasms. "I don't think it's the right time for risk. I'm optimistic for Australia. It's not good, but it isn't crazy bad." Hardly the chat of a champion.
So, as The Beatles proved, even the greatest bands go their separate ways eventually. And if tennis' impregnable quartet is losing its collective lustre, who is best placed to play Yoko Ono and break up the band? Look out for Juan Martin Del Potro (21.0 to back), the ATP's forgotten man, who is finally back after a prolonged wrist injury. The Argentine has enjoyed an ideal preparation, stealthily building up his ranking and fitness via a low-key Davis Cup campaign. He looks ready to roll.
As do French dark horses, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils (respectively 19.0 and 90.0 to back outright). Both men are pure athletes, with the power and variation to match their physical gifts. It's high time they stole one from the big boys. While the same comment applies to Tomas Berdych (55.0 to back) whose flat-hitting game is tailor-made for these Plexicushion courts, which allow him time to set his imposing frame and hit through the court.
Call it creative differences or the eternal punting quest for value, but I think it's worth backing a split for the Fab Four. Fans shouldn't be too upset, though. They'll reform later in the year.