Top Four set sights on Wimbledon
When the top four in the world made the final four at the French Open, we were granted a pertinent reminder of one thing; what a glorious era this is at the top of the men's game.
Three of the top four had made the semi-finals at the Australian Open and the top two had contested every mandatory Masters 1000 final since the start of the year.
From Miami to Madrid, Indian Wells to Rome, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic duelled in the Championship matches while, at the majors, it was Djokovic versus Andy Murray in Melbourne and Nadal versus Roger Federer in Paris.
Now Murray has returned to form, after his springtime slump, we have a genuine top four again.
The top three should remain well clear in the betting due to their Grand Slam winning pedigree but all four are ready to challenge for the Wimbledon title and, make no mistake, all four can win it.
Seeded number three at Wimbledon, the lowest he's been since 2003 when he won the title for the first time (as number four), I make him the marginal favourite due mainly to his Wimbledon record, but also because of the way he beat Djokovic and tested Nadal at the French.
After a year when he could have been left behind by the younger tyros, Federer has worked to improve his game, inspired by a desire to win many more majors. Having lost to Djokovic in New York and Melbourne, Federer's Paris win significantly restored any small amount of self-confidence which may have been knocked.
Last year he came into Wimbledon with physical issues which he tried to keep quiet. He almost lost to Alejandro Falla in the first round, a performance which appears to have earned the Columbian a wildcard this year, and he fell to Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals.
Even though he pulled out of Halle, citing a groin strain, don't read anything into that. Federer comes into Wimbledon in top condition with a burning desire to reclaim his title.
Interesting in terms of tactics will be his use of the backhand. His slice, especially on return of serve, has been effective at Wimbledon over the years as it stays low off the grass, but in the past six months he's been striking through the ball with more topspin on return.
It's had a good impact on hard courts and clay, so will he continue with that theme or return to the slice?
The Spaniard returned to Majorca for a few days after his defeat at Queen's and will undoubtedly head back to London refreshed and determined to successfully defend his title.
Nadal has not lost at Wimbledon since the final of 2007 (he won in 2008 and 2010, and wasn't fit to play in 2009) which is an incredible thought.
He looked sharp on the grass at Queen's until he had to close out the match against Jo Wilfred Tsonga, when his serve cracked dramatically. Tsonga then played brilliantly to send the top seed home.
At the French Open he was taken to five sets in the first round by John Isner, when the new balls were flying dramatically, but when it really mattered in the second week, Nadal stepped it up with straight sets wins over Robin Soderling and Andy Murray before seeing off Federer in the final.
Henri Leconte, the wonderful entertainer from France and also a shrewd commentator, isn't alone when he feels conditions at Wimbledon may actually be slower than at Roland Garros. Nadal should feel right at home.
Crucial tactics will be his court position. On clay he steps back to return the second serve, to run around the backhand and whip his forehand into court with all that spin.
On grass he will step in and try to hit flatter across the net. When he gets a short ball he will attack it with his forehand, usually into the backhand corner, and his volleying skills are excellent enough to win the majority of points from there.
So how will Djokovic bounce back from his defeat to Federer in Paris, the loss which ended his incredible unbeaten run?
The Serbian's start to 2011, with seven tournament wins from the first seven he played, will live long in the memory. To come into Wimbledon - traditionally seen as the fulcrum of the tennis calendar - with only one defeat is mind blowing.
Sadly, we can't assess his grass-court form because he pulled out of Queen's and will arrive at the All England Club without a competitive match on the surface. But on the strength of his year so far, and the subtle changes to his game, he absolutely has the ability to win Wimbledon for the first time.
He was hit hard by his straightforward loss to Berdych in the semi-finals last year. That wasn't a match I'd expect the Djokovic of today to come close to losing.
Expect him to dominate more behind his big first serve because, after some tinkering last year, he returned to his old (hardly ineffective) motion 12 months ago. The results speak for themselves.
His backhand is sensational - countering most top players' usual line of attack - while his forehand has the ability to carve open the court.
For Djokovic this year on the grass, movement will be the key to his success or otherwise. On clay and hard courts he is an incredible mover, allowing him to retrieve from deep in the corners and recover position in a flash. Can he find his grass-court feet as quickly and as effectively? If he can then he is a serious title contender.
What a turnaround for the number four seed. After the Australian Open, when he reached the final, Murray suffered four successive first-round defeats and seemed at a loss to know what was going on.
His title at Queen's, having almost pulled out after his first match such was the pain of his injured ankle, came at the culmination of a very important period for him.
He reached the semi-finals of Rome, fighting to the end and almost beating the guy (Djokovic) who had not lost a match all year; he reached the semi-finals of the French, his best Grand Slam performance on clay; and he won the title on the London grass. His last three tournaments have been ones to savour.
And this impressive sequence has come during a period of discomfort in many areas of his normally reliable body. An elbow injury disrupted the clay-court season, while he came into the French with a groin problem and rolled his ankle during it.
He's talked about it all to death, leaving us in no doubt about the various stresses and strains he's been carrying, and in previous years might have pulled out or used injury as an excuse for a poor defeat.
Instead, he's come through tight situations and toughed it out with his mental strength - a big positive.
Talking about it so openly may have been quite therapeutic. He thinks back to his chats with David Haye earlier in the year and recalls the story about the fighter who broke his hand but still won, or the other guy who's shoulder popped but still won. Murray loves these stories of fighting legend.
That's why he's determined to prove on 3 July, the day after Haye fights Klitchko in Hamburg, that he has what it takes to win Wimbledon for the first time.
Much will depend on his consistency of play. He has the form graph with the most fluctuations. Brilliant at his best, a match for the other three certainly, but over the best of five sets against rivals with reputations for consistency?
Murray has to find a Roddick performance from Queen's, extend it for another set, and then repeat it over and over and over.