It’s time to serve up some amazing tennis action, as the Australian Open is underway! Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Angelique Kerber and so many more athletes will compete in the 2017 tournament, so get to know all about this major tennis extravaganza.
1. The champs are back to defend their titles.
The 2017 Australian Open is the 105th edition of the tournament. Being held at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia from Jan. 16-29, the event is already seeing some drama. Novak Djokovic, 29, is defending his 2016 title and his quest to go back-to-back is off to an interesting start, as he needed three sets to put away Fernando Verdasco, 33, in the opening round.
Angelique Kerber, 28, who unseated Serena Williams, 35, as the No. 1 female tennis player in the world, also had to work to get by the opening match. She got by the 27-year-old Leisa Tsurenko in three sets — 6-2, 5-7, 6-2. Speaking of Serena, she put away Belina Bencic, 19, in two straight sets, 6-4, 6-3.
2. Who wins the tournament takes home some major bank.
The glory of winning a major tournament should be motivation for any player to leave it all out on the court, but the reward money is also nice. The total prize money for this event is a record $50 million AUD (about $36 million USD) according to CNN. This is up 14% from last year.
3. This could be the start of a Grand Slam.
The Australian Open is one of four Grand Slam tennis tournaments – the other being the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. When one player wins at all four, it’s called a Grand Slam (while winning four consecutive majors over two years is called a Non-Calendar Year Grand Slam.) Since Angelique won the 2016 US Open, she could be half-way to a Non-Calendar Year Grand Slam if she wins the 2017 Australian Open.
4. Look out. Nadal’s back.
In news that should make any tennis player quake in fear, Rafael Nadal, 30, is making his return after being sidelined in 2016 with a wrist injury. “I’m just happy with the way that I played,” the 2009 Australian Open winner said after defeating Florian Mayer, 33, in the first round. “I played well in all the key points. That’s very important for me. For me it’s a great victory.”
5. The 2017 Australian Open has already shattered records.
Ivo Karlovic, 37, needed five sets to defeat Horacio Zeballos, 31, in the opening round. That marathon match, which lasted two hours and 57 minutes, according to The Guardian, resulted in the most number of aces (a legal serve that zooms by the defender, giving the server the point) in an Australian Open match. Ivo recorded 75 aces in what is the fifth longest set in the tournament’s history.
Are you excited for the Australian Open, HollywoodLifers? Who do you want to win?