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The Australian Open is one of those events that will always hold special meaning for me personally as it is one I have attended personally in the past. Way back in 1997 I was in Melbourne during January as part of my gap year living and working in Australia so was fortunate to be in town for both the tennis and the Australian Grand Prix, 2 massive sporting events ticked off the bucket list in quick succession.
My main memory of the event is the sheer heat - the whole of southern Australia was sweltering through a heatwave the year I was there, with temperatures frequently exceeding 40 degrees celsius, a fact I was especially aware of due to the fact I was sleeping with 2 other lads in a small tent, which sadly lacked any efficient air conditioning. That discomfort must have been slight next to the poor tennis players though, having to slog through 5 set matches in what was quite frankly ridiculous heat and humidity.
Such extremes aren't in evidence every year, but it is the middle of summer over there at this time, so the sun will be shining and the temperatures will be high. Because of this you will often find matches played later in the day and into the evening, when the climate becomes a little more bearable.
Aside from actually watching the tennis, the atmosphere in and around Melbourne Park is fabulous during the tennis. You have a spectacular setting right on the banks of the picturesque Yarra River, and plenty of greenery in the surrounding area to take a stroll, enjoy a picnic (or more likely a barbecue if you're fully embracing the local culture!). Even inside the stadium complex there's plenty of space to wander around between courts and take in different matches throughout the day, along with plenty of refreshment options at prices that aren't too unreasonable for such a major sporting event.
The tournament lasts from the 18th until the 31st January. Full list of seedings and the schedule/order of play to follow
The Australian Open has been one of the first top sporting events to fully embrace live online streaming and offers an extensive range of both live and delayed coverage via their official website:
There are however broadcast rights issues, so whether this will work for you will depend on your location. They do also maintain an excellent Youtube page, with loads of streaming video regularly uploaded, and some live coverage:
In the US, you can also watch online via ESPN, who are offering over 100 live hours on ESPN2 and a massive 600 hours via ESPN3. To watch ESPN online, visit:
If you're planning on some time in Melbourne and Victoria during the Australian Open and looking for somewhere to stay then you can check out availability and make online reservations for local hotels here.
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