The Australian Open. It’s the grand slam that kick-starts the sporting calendar as the tennis world’s biggest names converge on Melbourne Park from the 20th January – 2nd February.
2019 Australian Open winners Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka will eagerly look to defend their tournament crowns as a stacked men’s and women’s draw look to etch their name on the Norman Brooks Challenge Cup and the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Australian Open grand slam.
WHEN AND WHERE IS IT ON?
The Australian Open starts on Monday, January 20, in Melbourne. It will run for 14 days and ends with the men’s final on Sunday, February 2, on Rod Laver Arena.
Melbourne Park will play host to the Australian Open across its numerous courts including drawcard venues Rod Laver Arena, Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne Arena, Showcourt 2 and Showcourt 3.
HOW CAN YOU WATCH IT
The Australian Open will be broadcast LIVE daily on Channel Nine and Gem. Every match on every court will be streamed LIVE on 9NOW.
WHICH PLAYERS WILL FEATURE AND HOW DO THEY STACK UP?
The men’s draw sees tennis’ biggest draw cards all return for the 2020 Australian Open led by defending champion Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic comes into the tournament a strong favourite having secured his seventh Australian Open crown last year but will be consigned to the number two seed with rival Rafael Nadal claiming top seed at Melbourne Park.
Russian bolter Daniil Medvedev looks like the outside chance to trouble the big three after a stellar 2019 which saw him challenge in the US Open final and catapult himself to World No.4.
As Always, one can never rule out the wizardry of Swiss Maestro Roger Federer who at 38 years of age will compete for his seventh Australian Open and look to extend his grand slam record to 21.
With Alex De Minaur’s shock withdrawal from the Open due to injury, Australia’s best chance lies with ethereal talent Nick Kyrgios. The 24-year-old has looked in fine form ahead of the Australian Open, knocking off Greek powerhouse Stefanos Tsitsipas in the ATP Cup.
Men’s top seeds:
1. Rafael Nadal
2. Novak Djokovic
3. Roger Federer
4. Daniil Medvedev
5. Dominic Thiem
6. Stefanos Tsitsipas
7. Alexander Zverev
8. Matteo Berrettini
9. Roberto Bautista Agut
10. Gael Monfils
In the women’s draw it’s a different story with Australian World No.1 Ashleigh Barty close favourite behind Serena Williams to take out her first home grand slam.
To do that however she’ll have to blow past defending champion Naomi Osaka who backed up her breakout 2018 US Open win with her first Australian Open crown last year.
Despite 38-year-old Williams having slipped down the world rankings, her pedigree at the Australian Open, with seven titles to her name, puts her in good stead to claim her 24th grand slam – the one major she needs to equal Margaret Court’s record.
Meanwhile the threats of Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova round out the women’s draw with the former having claimed Wimbledon in 2019.
Women’s top seeds:
1. Ashleigh Barty
2. Karolina Pliskova
3. Naomi Osaka
4. Simona Halep
5. Elina Svitolina
6. Belinda Bencic
7. Petra Kvitova
8. Serena Williams
9. Kiki Bertens
10. Madison Keys
AUSTRALIAN OPEN PRIZE MONEY
A total of $71 million prize money is up for grabs at the 2020 Australian Open, a record pool of riches following a 13.6 percent increase on the purse in 2019.
There will be double digit percentage increases across qualifying and every round of the main draw except the final in singles.
Here is a breakdown of the payouts:
Round 1 $90,000
Round 2 $128,000
Round 3 $180,000
Round 4 $300,000
AUSTRALIAN OPEN SCHEDULE AND DRAW
The Australian Open is a knockout style tournament over seven stages. Players must win to progress to through to the next round.
There are four round-stages followed by a quarterfinal, semifinal and final.
Action from the Australian Open starts at 11am each day and concludes once all matches scheduled for that day have finished.
The women’s singles final will be held on Saturday February 1 at 7.30pm.
The men’s singles final will be held on Sunday February 2 at 7.30pm.
AUSTRALIAN OPEN KEY ROUND 1 MATCHUPS
Monday 20th January, Ashleigh Barty vs Lesia Tsurenko
Monday 20th January, Naomi Osaka vs Maris Bouzkova
Monday 20th January, Serena Williams vs Anastasia Potapova
Monday 20th January, Novak Djokovic vs Jan-Lennard Struff
Monday 20th January, Roger Federer vs Steve Johnson
Tuesday 21st January, Rafel Nadal vs HugoDellien
Tuesday 21st January, Dominic Thiem vs Adrian Mannarino
Tuesday 21st January, Daniill Medvedev vs Frances Tiafoe
Tuesday 21st January, Nick Kyrgios vs Lorenzo Sonego (ITA)
AUSTRALIAN OPEN BETTING ODDS
(Odds at time of publish, via Sportsbet)
Novak Djokovic $2.20
Rafael Nadal $5.50
Daniil Medvedev $9.00
Roger Federer $11.00
Stefanos Tsitsipas $15.00
Dominic Thiem $26.00
Nick Kyrgios $26.00
Alexander Zverev $41.00
Serena Williams $5.00
Ashleigh Barty $8.50
Naomi Osaka $9.00
Karolina Pliskova $10.00
Simona Halep $11.00
Aryna Sabalenka $17.00
Madison Keys $17.00
Petra Kvitova $17.00