The 2018 Australian Open is just around the corner. The first Grand Slam of the year will offer a rare level of excitement because of the configuration of the draw, which you will read about in the player information section below. Fans are hoping that whatever the case may be, this tournament will feature a lot of showcase matches between top players, leading to semifinal and final matches which leave a memorable imprint on spectators and commentators alike.
The competition in the 128-player main draw begins on Monday, January 15, in Melbourne.
Event: Australian Open
Category: ITF (International Tennis Federation) Grand Slam
Date: January 15-28, 2018
Location: Melbourne Park – Melbourne, Australia
The purse for this year’s event comes in at just over $55 million for both the men and the women. ATP professionals can bank big numbers of the dollars and points which can enable them to continue to support a fuller staff and a wide array of resources throughout the year. The economics of tennis make the Grand Slams important as showcases of tennis, yes, but also as money management and wealth creation events which can remove a lot of stress and give players an idea of how to shape their budgets during the year. The top players are easily taken care of in this regard, but the players ranked 90 or lower can really use a few match wins to give their careers a measure of financial and structural security. Fans are interested in who wins championships, but the players at the lower levels need this event to justify their professional commitment to the sport.
Championship – 2,000 points.
Runner-up – 1,200
Semifinal – 720
Quarterfinal – 360
Round of 16 – 180
Round of 32 – 90
Round of 64 – 45
Round of 128 – 10
Former Champions and Results (5 Years)
Year Champion Runner-up Score
2017 – Roger Federer def. Rafael Nadal – 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3
2016 – Novak Djokovic def. Andy Murray – 6-1, 7-5, 7-6
2015 – Novak Djokovic def. Andy Murray – 7-6, 6-7, 6-3, 6-0
2014 – Stan Wawrinka def. Rafael Nadal – 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
2013 – Novak Djokovic def. Andy Murray – 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, 6-2
This is a fascinating draw, one which will put a lot of fans on edge but create epic entertainment in Australia. Roger Federer is the defending champion and the second seed. His path is not easy. He could face Milos Raonic – the only man who has ever defeated Federer in a Wimbledon semifinal (11-1) – in the fourth round. Federer could then have to face either David Goffin – who beat him in the ATP Finals semifinal round last November – or Juan Martin del Potro (who beat him at the 2017 U.S. Open) in the quarterfinals. Federer could then have to face Novak Djokovic, who landed in a quarter of the draw with Alexander Zverev, the No. 4 seed. Djokovic-Zverev could be a fourth-round match, giving the Australian Open more fireworks than it already has on Australia Day, a national holiday in which fireworks interrupt Australian Open match play for a few minutes.
Rafael Nadal, the top seed, could play Marin Cilic in the quarterfinals. Nadal was one match away from meeting Cilic at last year’s Wimbledon quarterfinals, but he lost in the fourth round to Gilles Muller. Nadal and Cilic played a thriller in Shanghai last October. If they meet in the round of eight, it would be a treat. Nadal could meet Grigor Dimitrov in a rematch of their epic Australian Open semifinal last year. That would be a blockbuster.
Stan Wawrinka is in the field for now, but his health is a point of uncertainty. Andy Murray was unable to play in this event and will try to make a comeback in the summertime, exercising patience and caution. U.S. Open runner-up Kevin Anderson is in the field, seeded 11. Denis Shapovalov will try to see if he can be a threat from an unseeded position. Many other players who briefly made an imprint on the 2017 season will try to challenge the big dogs Down Under.
The Australian Open has thrived in the nearly 30 years since the tournament moved from Kooyong’s grass courts to the hardcourts of Melbourne Park in 1988. The best feature of the Australian Open is that it has three courts with retractable roofs, which can therefore host matches either in the event of rain or severe heat. Matches cannot occur over a certain level of heat (as measured by the heat index), and within certain parameters, players get to take a 10-minute break before a third and final set. It’s so much easier and more pleasant if a match can be played indoors, under a roof. The three courts with roofs support a lot more tennis played under comfortable conditions. No other major tournament has this feature.
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