Australian Open

Oz Open set for scorcher

2014-01-12 16:01
Novak Djokovic (AFP)

Melbourne - Melbourne Park gets its first glimpse of title favourites Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams in action on Monday's opening day but it is not just the heat of the on-court action that is exercising minds at the year's first grand slam.

GALLERY: Hotties of the Australian Open

While the world's best players seem pretty much unanimous in their enjoyment of the trip Down Under to start the season, the prospect of temperatures regularly exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) this week is a less enticing prospect.

Doubles specialist Nenad Zimonjic was blunt when asked in Sydney on Saturday what was the biggest threat to his bid for a fourth grand slam title with Daniel Nestor over the next two weeks.

"Heat," he deadpanned.

His fellow Serbian Djokovic opens his campaign for a fifth Australian Open title against Slovakia's Lukas Lacko in the first evening match on Rod Laver Arena before Williams, seeking her sixth, tackles local hope Ash Barty in her first round tie.

The evening starts means they will escape the worst of the heat, which is forecast to peak at 44 degrees Celsius (111 Fahrenheit) on Friday, and, as Djokovic pointed out, high temperatures are nothing new in Melbourne in January.

"I am expecting to play in a big heat," said Djokovic. "I remember the 2008, '9 and '10, there were several days I played in extreme heat. So I know how tough it is.

"But it's the same for myself and my opponent so you have to adjust to it."

A level playing field it might be, but energy-sapping conditions could expose anyone who arrives at the tournament in less than top notch condition or picks up an injury in an early match.

Twice Australian Open finallist and former French Open champion Li Na also opens her campaign on Monday against qualifier Ana Konjuh on Hisense Arena, while Spain's David Ferrer, seeded third in the men's draw, takes on Colombian Alejandro Gonzalez.

The relative paucity of big names on court on Monday reflects a disparity in the two halves of both draws but particularly that in the men's singles.

Second seed Djokovic, aiming for a fourth straight title, is the only member of the "Big Four" in the bottom half of the draw with top seed Rafa Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray all in the top half.

Women's top seed Williams has such a superior record against all of her main rivals that she is probably more concerned about injury, which prevented her playing in Melbourne two years ago and led to a quarter-final departure last year.

Melbourne's famously changeable weather is another concern and the American was quick to recognise the irony of a Tweet she sent out earlier in the week complaining about the cold.

"I should have kept my mouth quiet and dealt with the cold weather," she said.

Read more on:    atp tour  |  australian open  |  novak djokovic  |  tennis
NEXT ON SPORT24X

Rosol advances in Kitzbuehel

2014-07-30 20:08

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • SS3
    Thu, 31 Jul 2014 @04:00
  • SS4
    Thu, 31 Jul 2014 @05:00
  • SS5
    Thu, 31 Jul 2014 @05:59
  • SS7
    Thu, 31 Jul 2014 @06:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Vote

Which is your favourite Grand Slam of the year?

 
 
Featured Blog

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.