The 2020 Australian Open is the year’s first tennis Grand Slam and begins Monday in Melbourne. The tournament is set to go ahead despite the backdrop of raging bush-fires that have devastated parts of Australia.
Naomi Osaka is currently the reigning champion, after winning her second ever Grand Slam title last year. Osaka is expected to mount another title challenge on a surface which she had yielded a 14-match winning streak before losing to Karolina Pliskova last Saturday.
This year she will be rivalled by many who have their eyes on the first Slam of the season, including: Serena Williams, Simona Halep, Ashleigh Barty, Bianca Andreescu and Karolina Pliskova.
Williams is the firm favourite to win the Open as she again bids for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title. The 38-year-old American is aiming to match the record set by Australia’s Margaret Court in 1973.
Williams has not won a Grand Slam title since the 2017 Australian Open, when she was eight weeks pregnant. Since returning from her pregnancy, she has reached four Grand Slam finals – two at Wimbledon and two at the US Open – but has lost them all.
After over a decade of domination, Williams’ drought seen the women’s game become more unpredictable. The past eleven Grand Slams has produced nine different winners over a period which has seen the world number one spot held by seven players.
Ashleigh Barty is currently ranked world number one and is bidding to become the first Australian woman to win the Australian Open in 42 years. World number two, Karolina Pliskova, won a third Brisbane International title in four years, in preparation for the Australian Open and is aiming to prove the doubters wrong and show she has the mindset to deliver a first Grand Slam title.
19-year-old Canadian sensation and reigning U.S. Open champion Bianca Andreescu withdrew from the Open due to a knee injury. Andreescu, was among the top three favourites to win the title.
Keep an eye-out for Coco Gauff. The 15-year-old American, stunned five-time champion Venus Williams in the first round at Wimbledon last year before going on to win her maiden title in Linz. Gauff has again, been sensationally drawn against Venus Williams again in the first round of the Australian Open.
The 2020 Australian Open begins on Monday 20 January.
It will run for two weeks, with the final taking place on Saturday 2 February.