Just like every year, Melbourne Park this year as well, is all geared up to host the 104th edition of the Australian Open starting next week. The tournament which is played on hard court, is scheduled to start on Monday, 18th January with the finals to be held on the 31st. With title sponsors as Kia Motors, this is the first major Grand Slam of the season out of four held every year with Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams playing as the defending champions in the men’s single and women’s single title, respectively.
In the 1990s, before Melbourne Park existed, the Australian Open was played in various venues each year depending on the climatic conditions and the capacity of the venue. Due to this, dates of the tournament fluctuated and along with that, also, the turf on which the game was played. The distance and unknown country had kept quality tennis players away from the tournament in the past however things have changed now.
The event is certainly a crowd puller as some of the best players set the tone of the sport for the rest of the year to come. Some top players like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal had expressed in the past that the tournament is held too soon after the Christmas and New Year holidays which does not give the players enough time to reach their best form for the tournament.
Apart from the trophy and the prestige this year the Grand Slam winner would be pocketing 10 percent more prize money compared to last year which amounts close to $44 million. Last year more than 700,000 fans attended the tournament smashing previous records. The organisers are positive about a huge crowd turn up this year as well.
Roger might want to make a comeback this year after a rather subdued performance last year while Rafael is perhaps still not fully recovered from his injury more than a year ago. Novak would be entering the tournament not only the top seed but as the crowd favourite as well. Intense clashes on court would probably be an understatement for this year’s Australian Open.