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Disclaimer : The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Decathlon.
Early mornings, cozy blanket, a hot cup of coffee, and a bright blue Tennis court on TV. We all know what this means. Aussie Open! For the first time, the Aussie Open will be held in February but rest assured that the heat will be just as high as ever. After the event spent almost $40 million on player quarantines and testing, the event ensures a great two weeks for both the players and the spectators.
A few notable things that the event has done to ensure a safe playing environment that is unique to this event include :
Reduced stadium capacity (only 30000 spectators a day)
Digital ticketing and digital payments throughout the campus
Qualifying rounds held in Dubai
Planes used by players and staff to reach Melbourne only 20 percent full with testing done for everyone
No linespersons for umpiring. Automatic line calling system used on all courts.
Having talked about the conditions and safety, it is important to go back to basics and discuss who will be the ones swinging their rackets till the very end.
8-time champion Djokovic goes in as favorite chasing a record 9th Aussie Open title. Challenging him will be his long-time (self admittedly favorite) rival Rafa Nadal, New Grand Slam winner Domi Thiem, looking for his first slam title Daniil Medvedev and a host of other potential winners. Some players holding an outside chance of going deep in the tournament are former champion Stan Wawrinka, young gun Staf Tsitsipas, Sascha Zverev, and the ever-lively Berrettini.
With the conditions being a little less intense as every year, the chances of seeing longer and more intensely fought matches are higher given that the fatigue due to weather will be lower. Not to forget the form that these players carry from the various warm-up events including the nation cup where team Russia emerged victoriously.
On the women’s side, Ash Barty, having missed a number of events in 2020 leads the charge as the top seed. Halep and Serena remain her biggest challengers. Serena will be looking for her 8th Title down under and can never be taken down easily. Osaka, Kenin, and Svitolina complete the line-up of the challenge. On the list of players with an outside chance are Azarenka, Andreescu, Kvitova, and Bertens.
An event like the Aussie Open is a great opportunity to observe and learn how players cope with the challenge of the heat The challenge of heat is not unknown to Indians as it is a regular feature to play through very high temperatures and varying levels of humidity. The fix to this is fairly easy and well known.
Drink a lot of water, get electrolytes from either energy drinks or gels, wear the right clothes (light, airy and fitted) like the below :