PREVIEW: Epic Australian Open on the cards

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The Australian Open (AO) is set to serve up a tantalising tennis treat when it gets underway at Melbourne Park on Monday, 21 January, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.

Fans can expect fireworks in the first Grand Slam of 2020. Fresh from ringing in the new year, the world’s leading players are revitalised, refocused and hell-bent on starting the year with a bang.

As an added incentive, this year’s AO is offering record prize money – AUD $71 million, a 13.6% increase from last year’s event. Known for continually upping the ante, the prize money in Melbourne has nearly tripled from AUD $25 million in 2011.

In addition, the 2020 AO is breaking new ground with the introduction of GreenSet surfaces. The acrylic, hardcourt surface is used in many ITF events and on the ATP and WTA tours and will usher in a new era for Australia’s Grand Slam. The change is the result of a new partnership, which saw GreenSet become the official court supplier of Tennis Australia last year, and it’ll be interesting to see what role – if any – the surface plays in this year’s event.

One of the intriguing questions heading into the 108th edition of the tournament is: will its past become its future? With seven singles titles apiece, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams (in the Open era) are the greatest champions in the event’s history and will both grace the courts again this year. Two of the all-time greats, the dynamic duo will be aiming to add to their legend and extend their dominance Down Under.

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