The First of the four Grand Slams, The Australian Open, commences on January 18th down under in Melbourne. Keep in mind that Melbourne time is 16 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. Whether you’re going to watch the action live like I or program your DVR, here’s the complete (qualifying matches inclusive) USA TV schedule…
The first Aussie Open was played in 1905. In the early years, its location rotated between Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and New Zealand. Until the 1920s, the competitors were almost exclusively Aussies because of the difficulty of traveling down under. It was played on grass until 1972 before the switch to a hard court surface. In 1987, Melbourne was established as the permanent home of the tournament.
There are, of course, a few ATP and WTA tournaments which precede the Aussie Open each new season. But this is the one where players strive to make their statement about their game for the upcoming season. As we settle in to watch, and before a ball is hit, the concensus is that it’s Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams and then everyone else. Players, of course, can’t think that way. They must always believe they can win, regardless of who is on the other side of the net. From the sidelines, though, we know better. Unless Novak and Serena have an off day between the 18th and 31st of January 2016, and/or some other player(s) catches lightning in a bottle for seven rounds, I expect to see them raising the trophy. If not they, I will pick Roger Federer or Stan Wawrinka on the Mens side and Simona Halep or Petra Kvitova on the womens side. Longshots: Milos Raonic and Victoria Azarenka.
Top Seeded Mens Players
- Novak Djokovic – Serbia
- Andy Murray – United Kingdom
- Roger Federer – Switzerland
- Stan Wawrinka – Switzerland (Defending Champion)
- Rafael Nadal – Spain
- Tomas Berdych – Czech Republic
- Kei Nishikori – Japan
- David Ferrer – Spain
- Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – France
- John Isner – USA
Top Seeded Womens Players
- Serena Williams – USA ( Defending Champion)
- Simona Halep – Romania
- Garbene Murguruza – Spain
- Agnieszka Radwanska – Poland
- Maria Sharapova – Russia (really Maria? USA!)
- Petra Kvitova – Czech Republic
- Angelique Kerber – Germany
- Venus Williams – USA
- Karolina Pliskova – Czech Republic
- Carla Suerez Navarro – Spain
Remember that it’s the peak of summer down under and the Aussie Open Heat Policy will be in effect, as temperatures can be blazing. Here’s your chance to brush up on Celsius that you learned in 9th grade Science class. Remember? The decision on implementing the heat policy will take into account the forecast once the ambient temperature exceeds 40 degrees Celsius, and the Wet Bulb Global Temperature (WBGT) reading exceeds 32.5. The decision to suspend play is made at the Referee’s discretion.
Wondering how many of you are Googling “Wet Bulb Global Temperature” right now?
Enjoy the 2016 Australian Open!