The first Grand Slam of the new decade, the 2020 Australian Open, is upon us and we give you the lowdown on the important things ahead of the tournament.
When is the Australian Open?
The 108th edition of the Australian Open (52 of them have been held in the Open Era) runs from January 20 until February 2. This year’s tournament starts a week later than usual due to the inaugural ATP Cup.
Where does the Australian Open take place?
Melbourne Park – situated in the Melbourne Sports and Entertainment Precinct – has hosted the Australian Open since 1988.
The venue has 35 outdoor tennis courts and Rod Laver Arena (14,820), Melbourne Arena (10,500) and Margaret Court Arena (7,500) are the three main courts with each coming with its own retractable roof.
Who are the defending champions?
World No 2 Novak Djokovic is the defending champion after he won a record-breaking seventh Australian Open title when he beat Rafael Nadal 6–3, 6–2, 6–3 in a one-sided final last year.
Naomi Osaka won her maiden Melbourne Park major when she defeated Petra Kvitova 7–6 (7–2), 5–7, 6–4.
French duo Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert are the men’s doubles champion, Samantha Stosur from Australian and Zhang Shuai from China are the defending women’s doubles champion while Czech Barbora Krejcikova and American Rajeev Ram won the mixed doubles title last year.
What about the seeds for this year’s event?
Organisers usually stick to the ATP and WTA rankings with this year’s cutoff date Monday January 13. That means Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Daniil Medvedev and Dominic Thiem are your top five seeded players on the men’s draw.
Dan Evans is the only seeded British player as the world No 33 will be seeded 31st as two players below him have withdrawn.
On the women’s side Ashleigh Barty, Karolina Pliskova, Naomi Osaka, Simona Halep and Elina Svitolina make up the top five.
Serena Williams is seeded eighth while Johanna Konta (12th) will fly the British flag.
When does qualifying take place?
Qualifying for the first Grand Slam of 2020 starts on Tuesday January 14 and runs until Saturday January 18. Sixteen men and 16 women will get entry into the main draw via qualifying.
The likes of Hyeon Chung, who became the first South Korean to reach the semi-finals of a Grand Slam when he made into the last four at the 2018 Australian Open, are hoping to get an entry via qualifying along with the likes of Bernard Tomic, Dustin Brown, Liam Brody, Eugenie Bouchard and Harriet Dart.
Eurosport Player will broadcast qualifying over the next few days.
When is the draw?
The main draw for the men’s and women’s tournament takes place on Thursday January 16 at 18:00 local time (07:00 am GMT). It is expected to be broadcast on the Australian Open’s official Facebook/YouTube pages.
Which TV channels will broadcast the tournament?
Eurosport will air the Australian Open in the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe over the next fortnight while ESPN and the Tennis Channel are the go-to places in North America.
As per usual, you can expect commentary from BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, text from the BBC Sport website and, of course, TV highlights.
Defending champion Djokovic is the favourite with the bookmakers and you can still get him at 7/5 with world No 1 Rafael Nadal next best 9/2. Roger Federer is down in fourth and some places will offer as much as 11/1.
On the women’s side, Serena Williams is 9/2 on the back of her success in Auckland with world No 1 Ashleigh Barty and defending champion Naomi Osaka at 8/1.
Do look out for our full betting preview later in the week.
What is the prize money?
The men’s and women’s singles champions will each walk away with a winner’s cheque of A$4.12 million (approximately £2.2m) while the runners-up will receive A$2,06 (about £1,09m) after prize money was increased by 13.6%.
|Round||Men’s singles||Women’s singles||Men’s doubles||Women’s doubles||Mixed doubles|
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