Everything you need to know about this year’s Australian Open

The Australian Open hits the courts on Sunday.

The Australian Open hits the courts on Sunday. Photo: AAP

The Australian Open hits the court on Sunday for two weeks of tennis featuring the world’s best.

This year’s tournament starts on the weekend for the first time, before the men’s and women’s finals on Sunday 28 January.

While the first major tournament of 2024 always throws up major surprise results, Australian players on home soil head into the tournament as an outside chance.

The favourites

Novak Djokovic — who was controversially blocked from entering Australia because of his vaccination status in 2021 — remains the favourite to take home the title, but he will have tough competition during his quest for an 11th Australian Open.

novak djokovic

Novak Djokovic will be aiming for his 11th Australian Open title in 2024. Photo: Getty

Carlos Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev, Jannick Sinner and Andrey Rublev round out the top five-seeded players in the men’s competition, while Iga Swiatek enters the competition as the top-seeded woman.

The Polish world number one has never won the Australian Open, having achieved her best finish in 2022 after being knocked out in the semi-final.

Naomi Osaka, a two-time Australian Open champion, will be hoping for a threepeat after returning to tennis following the birth of her child. She enters the tournament as number 833 in the world, but has a good chance at a deep run into the finals.

Aussie hopes

Alex De Minaur stands as Australia’s best hope at the Open after wins against Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverez during the United Cup.

World number 10 Alex de Minaur is Australia’s best hope for glory. Photo: Getty

Now in the top 10 for the first time, De Minaur will be hoping to make it past the fourth round for the first time.

First, he has to overcome Canadian Milos Raonic, who burst onto the scene after reaching the semi-final of the Australian Open in 2016.

Other Australians include number 43rd-ranked Alexi Popyrin, Max Purcell and Jordan Thompson.

Fan favourite Thanasi Kokkinakis will face off against Sebastian Ofner in the first round, with most of the highest-seeded players entering the competition in the later rounds.

There are no Australians in the top 100 women’s players, but Kimberly Birrell, Olivia Gadecki, Daria Saville, Taylah Preston and Ajla Tomljanovic will be hoping to improve their standings at the competition.

Ariana Rodionova, Australia’s number-one-ranked woman, failed to qualify for the competition.

Absent stars

Rafael Nadal will miss the Open because of injury and there are murmurs that his absence will mean the 2023 competition may have been his final time competing in Australia.

Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the Australian Open due to a hip injury. Photo: Getty

Nadal suffered a hip injury at last year’s tournament and was set to play in the competition, but re-injured it during a match against Jordan Thompson in Brisbane.

Reilly Opelka, Dominic Stricker and Lauren Davis are other big-name players who won’t be appearing because of injuries.


One major change made by administrators this year is aimed at avoiding late finishes, forcing night sessions to begin by 7.30pm and blocking matches starting after 11pm is being trialled.

An extra day has been added to the Open and day sessions will be limited to two matches, after some 2023 matches didn’t end until past 3am.

Kokkinakis’ five-set loss in 2023 didn’t finish until after 4am, which Andy Murray labelled a farce after losing the following day.

Australian Open

Thanasi Kokkinakis’ five-set marathon against Andy Murray at 2023’s AO finished at 4.05am. Photo: Getty

The prize money for the 2024 competitor has been increased by 13 per cent, with a record prize pool of $3.15 million and players making the first round earning $120,000.

Where to watch

Channel 9 will be broadcasting every match between 9Now and Stan, with marquee matches live on the free-to-air channel.

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