El Aynaoui has recently been enjoying the best form of his career despite being one of the oldest players on the tour.
World ranking: 18
Australian Open best:
Quarter-finals (2003, 2000)
2002: 3rd round
2001: 1st round
The Moroccan, already a popular figure with fans, won the hearts of the Melbourne crowds last year in his epic quarter-final against Andy Roddick.
El Aynaoui eventually succumbed 21-19 in the final set, and accepted an agonising defeat with his usual grace and good humour.
He took time to recover, and did not reach an ATP final last season until May, where he lost to Julien Boutter on home soil in Casablanca.
In America, El Aynaoui powered into the semi-finals at Long Island before reaching the quarter-finals at the US Open, defeating Jiri Novak and Carlos Moya on the way.
And the 32-year-old ended the season on a high by making a semi-final appearance at the Madrid Masters.
El Aynaoui has one of the best forehands in the game and, on his favoured hard courts, should be a serious threat in Melbourne.