Guide to the 2018 Australian Open

Rafael Nadal
Melbourne, Australia - January 9, 2018: Tennis player Rafael Nadal preparing for the Australian Open at the Kooyong Classic Exhibition tournament. Photo: STRINGER Image, Bigstock

As the summer heat continues to breath down on the sporting capital of Australia, the worlds tennis elite have been preparing for the opening Grand Slam of the 2018 season, the Australian Open.

As is the case every year, Australian’s are treated to world class tennis in the final two weeks of January at Melbourne’s Olympic Park. This year’s tournament is set to be one of the most entertaining yet off the court with live music every night, including some of the world’s biggest acts.

Here is everything that you need to know about the 2018 Australian Open.

When & Where

The tournament runs from January 15 to 28 with the Women’s and Men’s Singles Final on the 27th and 28th, respectively.

Held at the magnificent Melbourne Park, it is just a 5 minute tram ride from the city.

All of the big matches will be screened live on Channel 7 and 7mate from 11am.

Weather Forecast

As is tradition for this time of year, temperatures are expected to be reasonably high for the majority of the tournament, even reaching the low 40’s on the first weekend. Fortunately for the players, Melbourne Park has 3 retractable roofs so those on the main courts will gain some reprieve from the high temperatures.

With minimal rain forecast, it should be a good tournament for all spectators.

Prizemoney

With a 10% increase in the total prize pool on last year’s tournament, players will get a piece of $55 million when they kick off tomorrow.

The men’s and women’s singles winners will each pocket $4 million, whilst doubles champions receive $750,000 and mixed doubles $160,000.

Those who exit in the first round of the single’s tournaments will still pocket $50,000.

The Contenders

Men

Rafael Nadal (ESP) – Ranking: 1, Age: 31, 75 career titles and 16 grand slam wins

The Spanish bull is still under a fitness cloud heading into the tournament having played just one match in 3 months. No doubt he will continue to challenge for titles should his knees hold up.

Roger Federer (SUI) – Ranking: 2, Age: 36, 95 career titles and 19 grand slam wins

The Swiss maestro returned to form in 2017 winning two grand slams including the Australian Open. He will be keen to defend his title and continue his incredible run, even at 36 years of age.

Other contenders include; Grigor Dimitrov (BUL), Alexander Zverev (GER), David Goffin (BEL), Novak Djokovic (SRB)

Best Australian chance: Nick Kyrgios

Women

Simona Halep (ROM) – Ranking: 1, Age: 26, 16 career titles, no grand slams

Yet to notch a grand slam win, Halep is hoping that 2018 can be her year. This is also the first time she has entered a grand slam as the number 1 seed.

Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) – Ranking: 2, Age: 27, 27 career titles and no grand slams

Twice a grand slam runner up, Wozniacki will be hoping that she can take out the Australian Open. With no Serena Williams, this is likely her best chance.

Other contenders include; Garbine Muguruza (ESP), Elina Svitolina (UKR), Venus Williams (USA), Karolina Pliskova (CZE), Angelique Kerber (GER)

Best Australian chance: Ashleigh Barty

Who’s Missing?

This year’s tournament will be without a number of star from both the men’s and women’s draws.

The men’s draw will be without world number 19 Andy Murray (GBR) and world number 24 Kei Nishikori (JPN) whilst the women’s draw will be without world number 14 Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) and world number 23 Serena Williams (USA).