Relentless personal and patriotic pressure to qualifying for the Rio De Janeiro Olympic Games has been a primary force for reorganising badminton's world rankings in the past year.
The increasing excellence in skills of players beyond the world's top 10 and up to top 100 across all five badminton disciplines is noticeable, with many a seeded player regularly stretched into deciding games by them.
More significant than which personnel are shifting up or down the world rankings is that the points differential amongst players inside the top 20 is smaller than usual, meaning that they are, without doubt, capable of toppling one another. No one country or player or duo can claim outright dominance at present.
Spain is one of three European countries making a mark on world badminton, owing in no small part to the superb athleticism and mental toughness of Carolina Marin.
Marin's defence of her World Champion status and tightly clutching the world #1 spot for six months before relinquishing it last week illustrates her strong consistency during the dawn of a new era in women's singles in which seven nations and nine ladies have claimed Superseries victories over the past year and a half.
The Japanese are genuine Olympic contenders in the women's categories through having the world #1 and current All England champions Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi helming doubles.
Together with perennial favourites China, Japan represent half of the top 20 names for singles with either nation boasting five representatives.
Since Nozomi Okuhara competed in Sydney last May, she's earnt three BWF Superseries singles titles, one of each flavour -- a Super Series (Japan Open), a Premier (All England), and a Masters Finals.
The 2012 Olympic silver medallist, Lee Chong Wei, heads into the Rio De Janeiro season as the singles player, male or female, with the most Superseries victories (4) in the recent six months. Earlier in April, he took out the Malaysia Open for a record 11th occasion.
Malaysia's former top 5 pairing of Goh Liu Ying / Chan Peng Soon are beginning to peak at the right time. They've featured in three finals this year including coming runners-up at the Malaysia Superseries Premier which involved defeating both the reigning Olympic champions as well as silver medallists.
There are two world class Malaysian men's doubles pairs, Tan Wee Kiong / Goh V Shem and Tan Boon Heong / Koo Kien Keat, who between them have tripped up the 2015 and 2014 World Champions this year. All that stands between both pairs and a major title is a sustained run of success within one tournament.
China arrive in Sydney to defend men's singles and women's doubles crowns and are one of the favourites in every discipline.
Chinese men have a stranglehold on the singles contest as they've lifted the last four singles trophies. However, the Australian Open hasn't posted a title defence by the same player in either singles category in a decade and world #1 Chen Long has the best credentials to halt this trend.
The most recognised badminton player on earth, Lin Dan, is also be attempting to chalk up two Australian Open wins in its Superseries era.
The biggest smasher on the women's circuit and defending doubles champion, Tang Yuanting, has reached a career high world ranking of #2 this month in addition to winning four Superseries titles with three different partners since 2015. If you counted all her ranking points together she'd, in fact, be the best in the world.
India's singles contingents continue to make a distinct impact in all competitions. The women Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu can defeat any rivals between them and the men are always dark horses, regularly causing the downfall of seeded players early on or consistently stretching them into deciding games.
The Danish are reliable at men's singles and mixed doubles, having chronically supplied world top 10 representatives for decades.
Viktor Axelsen has proven that his previous Australian Open final's appearance wasn't a fluke by beating both Lin Dan and Chen Long later in 2015. The tall 22 year old Dane also reached three more Superseries finals to make it four in the space of 10 months, thus rising to the become the highest ranked of his countrymen for the first time. Axelsen overtook compatriot Jan O Jorgensen who is adjacent in the rankings at world #6.
Ratchanok Intanon has the unique achievement of being the only singles player, male or female, of winning back to back to back Superseries titles over three weeks.
Her India Open, Malaysia Open and Singapore Open top of the podium finishes make her the latest world #1 in women's singles.
The world's top 25 contains three other Thai women's singles exponents who cause trouble for many seeded players.
Indonesia possess the world #2 pairs across all three doubles categories and their best chances are in the men's and mixed because they have teammates at the tail end of the top 10 who happen to hold recent Superseries winner credentials too.
Debby Susanto / Praveen Jordan steamrolled through their All England semi and final in straight games, in the process flattening the top Chinese and Danes.
Similarly, Gideon Markus Fernaldi / Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo didn't drop a game in the last two rounds of the India Open to become Indonesia's latest inductees into the Superseries victors club. They join World Champions Hendra Setiawan / Mohammad Ahsan in attempting to halt Koreans Lee/Yoo's campaign to remain the only men's pair who've ever won a Superseries in Australia.
The most talented Australians have been making waves on the doubles court. Leanne Choo, a London 2012 Olympian in women's doubles, has switched disciplines to mixed doubles partnering Robin Middleton.
Gronya Somerville / Setyana Mapasa are the leading lights in women's doubles and this year defeated the 2010 Commonwealth gold medallists and world top 15 pair from India in straight games. Sawan Serasinghe / Matthew Chau are looking to better their three match streak at the Australian Open from last year. All four youngsters also reconfigure among themselves for mixed doubles, making it three Aussie pairs within the world's top 60.
Tickets to watch the world’s best badminton players compete can be purchased online via: http://www.australianbadmintonopen.com.au/tickets with spots to watch the finals expected to sell-out fast.