The Australian Open made global headlines even before the players even walked onto the field.
Players were detained by the Australian Border Force, Novak Djokovic’s visa was revoked for a second time, and some of the sport’s biggest names failed to make the trip due to injury.
COVID-19 restrictions limited crowd numbers at last year’s tournament, and once again caused organizers to reduce capacity due to the increased number of Omicron cases.
So here’s your guide to what’s happening at Melbourne Park.
When is the Australian Open 2022?
The Australian Open will be contested From 17 to 30 January.
The women’s singles final will take place on January 29, with the men’s singles to be decided the following evening on January 30.
Wheelchair tennis events will take place from January 23-27.
Where can I watch the 2022 Australian Open?
You can watch the Australian Open for free TV on Channel 9 and on demand on the 9Now website and app.
Nine will provide live and on-demand televised coverage of the Australian Open live across its various platforms.
ABC will blog the tournament, and will also provide match reports, news stories, and analysis.
ABC Sport will provide live updates on radio over the weekend As part of the Summer Grandstand programme.
Who are the big names playing in the Australian Open 2022?
Naomi Osaka She will defend her title at the Australian Open at Melbourne Park after suffering a tumultuous 2021.
Osaka withdrew her status at the French Open Before her second-round match after a battle with officials over her refusal to honor media obligations due to what she said were mental health issues, and as a result of those she did not play at Wimbledon.
Her home performance at the Tokyo Olympics and the US Open was subpar for her.
But in a warm-up event at the Australian Open in Melbourne, the Japanese former world number one appeared in fine shape before withdrawing from the semi-finals due to injury.
Her biggest competitor, currently ranked number one in the world for women Ash Party She is the number one seed in the women’s singles draw.
The top-ranked tennis star has had two Grand Slam singles titles to her name – the 2019 French Open, and last year’s Wimbledon – and now has her eyes set on a home win to become the first Australian woman to lift the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup since unranked Chris O’Neill did in 1978.
Immigration Secretary Alex Hawke has used his ministerial powers to repeal in person Novak Djokovic visa on Friday, after the world-ranked men’s tennis player won a lawsuit earlier this week against revoking his visa.
Djokovic took part in the Australian Open draw on Thursday and was scheduled to face his Serbian teammate Miomir Kikmanovic In the first round of the tournament on Monday.
However, unless Djokovic succeeds in overturning the government’s decision a second time through the courts, his place at the top of the lottery will be taken by the Russian fifth seed. Andrey Rublev.
It’s on a level Roger Federer And Rafael Nadal With 20 singles titles in the Grand Slam.
A tenth Australian Open victory in the men’s final would have given Djokovic the record for men’s history.
Federer didn’t make the trip to Australia due to injury, but Nadal did, and so do the rising men’s stars Daniel Medvedev, who won the US Open, and the Olympic gold medalist Alexander Zverev, while he was a Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz He is a low seed and could be ready to make an impact after a stunning end to the 2021 season.
Dylan Alcott You will aim to win the eighth consecutive title in the singles quadruple wheelchair game.
If Alcott wins the Australian Open, he will add to his collection of 15 Grand Slam titles and eight doubles titles.
He announced last year that he plans to retire from tennis after the Australian Open.
Other Australians on the court are expected to hit Nick Kyrgios, Alex de Minaur, Thanasy Kokinakis, James Duckworth, John Millman, Alexei Popyrin, Jordan Thompson, Astra Sharma and Agla Tomljanovic.
Are there spectator tickets for the Australian Open 2022?
Australian Open officials had been planning to enjoy it at full capacity in all stadiums, but the tournament has since been capped at 50 per cent.
The Victorian government made a last-minute change to capacity due to the worsening COVID-19 situation in the state.
Ventilation will be improved in Melbourne Park’s interior with HEPA filters [air filters] It will be installed in some places after the ventilation assessment of the place is completed.”
All attendees over the age of 12 years and two months must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have a valid medical exemption.
In addition, spectators are also required to use the government check-in app and wear a mask unless they are sitting outdoors, eating or drinking.
Last year, less than 390,000 people were allowed to attend Melbourne Park, nearly half the average attendance in recent years, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
What is the prize money offered for the Australian Open 2022?
There is a total of $75 million in prize money on offer at this year’s tournament.
The winners of the women’s and men’s finals will receive $4.4 million each, with the runner-up receiving $2.2 million.
Each of the defeated semi-finalists will raise $1.1 million, while whoever leaves in the first round of the tournament will receive $90,000 for their efforts.
AP / ABC