Leading contenders Nathan Robertson/Gail Emms (WR #1) Zhang Jun/Gao Ling (WR #5) Kim Dong Moon/Ra Kyung Min (WR #9) Besides two minor tournaments at the beginning of 2004 and the European title, Robertson/Emms did not win anything else. They came agonizingly close in Athens. Kim/Ra started the year well, winning every tournament they entered until they stumbled at the Olympics, which more than negate every good thing they have done before that. Zhang/Gao may not be as steady as they used to be but they are Olympic champions for the second time. For that, they are the mixed doubles pair of the year. In 2005, watch out for: Nova Widianto/Lilyana Natsir (WR #25). In their first tournament together, they defeated Zhang/Gao. Then, they took the Singapore title, beating Robertson/Emms on the way. Then, they lost narrowly to Zhang/Gao in their only third and final tournament of the year. On the flip side, Widianto is quite old (born in 1977). However, Natsir is young (1985) and Indonesia never had a problem producing men's doubles players. Anyway, I predict this pair will stamp their mark in 2005. There will be substantial local interest in Saputra/Li and Koo/Wong but I don't think they can break into the elite ranks. Most likely to be pair of the year in 2005: In the Olympic fallout, a new pair will emerge and that is none other than Nova/Lilyana of Indonesia.