More than 703,000 people came through the gates to the blue courts of the Tennis Centre last year and there’s even greater anticipation for this year’s event, with the world’s best tennis players set to play. The Australian Open commences on Monday 18 January and will continue until January 31 when the men’s final will take place at Rod Laver Arena.
On Wednesday, Greek Australian Nick Kyrgios withdrew midway through the second set of his match with David Goffin during the annual Kooyong Classic tennis tournament. He aggravated a lower leg soft tissue injury suffered in training the day before, although said he was confident he would be fit for next week’s Australian Open. According to his team, Kyrgios will be ready despite his foot injury.
“Hate withdrawing, so sorry to everyone,” Kyrgios posted on Twitter.
The outspoken Australian had called for a medical time out at 3-2 in the first set of the event before winning the set in a tiebreaker against his Belgian opponent, calling for the trainer again at 1-1 in the second set. The world No. 30 carried on briefly but opted to quit at the next changeover while trailing 3-2. Kooyong Classic tournament physiotherapist Rob Hanna said the Australian had a soft tissue inflammation and that he would be fine with rest and ice packs.
The polarising 20-year-old is in good form, having helped Australia win the mixed-team Hopman Cup event in Perth last week, where he beat British world No. 2 Andy Murray.
Kyrgios is by far the best- backed Aussie with TAB, and second overall to Djokovic for money wagered on the Australian Open, and is the most popular pick with Sportsbet punters.
The corporate bookmaker stands to payout $600,000 if the enigmatic Canberran currently priced at $34 goes all the way at Melbourne Park.
One Sportsbet customer buoyed by Kyrgios’ win over Murray at the Hopman Cup last week put $500 on the 20-year-old to win the Australian Open at $41 for a $20,500 return.
There was disappointment when Thanasi Kokkinakis ruled himself out of the entire Australian summer of tennis with a shoulder injury.
The exciting teenager took to Twitter on Christmas Eve to reveal the “devastating” news. The 19-year-old, one of the youngest in the world’s top 100, underwent a successful surgery to repair his serving arm.
Kokkinakis slashed his ranking in 2015 and reached a career-high No. 69 after conquering Australian No. 1 Bernard Tomic in a clay court thriller to reach the third round of the French Open in June 2015.
He ignited his season with a memorable five-set first-round win over then-world No. 11 Ernests Gulbis at last year’s Australian Open, saving a match point en route to victory over the Latvian.
A finalist in the 2006 Australian Open, Greek Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis lost over Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta with 2-0 set and during the first round of the Kooyong Classic tournament.
The Wimbledon semi-finalist, who recently became a father for a second time, was seen training in Croatia and ranks inside the Top 50 at No. 46 on the ATP Charts. Baghdatis has been ranked as high as No. 8 in the world and has won four ATP titles.
Last year saw previous champions Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams hoist the singles trophies once again. The Serbian won his fifth Australian Open title with victory over Andy Murray in four sets, while Williams beat Maria Sharapova in straight sets for her 19th major singles crown.
Temperatures are expected to hover around a comfortable 25-30°C throughout the event. Day one will have clear skies and tops of 30°, with the only bad period of weather expected on day two and day 11, when showers and possibly thunderstorms may temporarily halt play.
* Rod Laver Arena and Margaret Court Arena single session tickets and Australian Open ground passes, which will allow access to Hisense Arena, are now on sale at ticketek.com.au
Visit www.ausopen.com for live scores, information, schedules, players profiles and more, and download the official app, available on iPhone, iPad, and Android.