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A land down under


January 20, 2020

 The GIST: The season’s first Grand Slam tennis tournament, the Australian Open, has officially begun. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi! 

Remind me how this works: Not a problem. The Australian Open is the first of four Grand Slam events — the others being the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open — and unofficially kicks off the tennis season. The Aussie Open began January 19th (January 20th in Australia, because they live in the future) and will run until February 2nd with the men’s and women’s singles champions taking home $4.12 million each. Talk about a pay day. 

Got it. So who won last year?: Young Japanese-American phenom Naomi Osaka and Serbian legend Novak Djoković (pronounced JOKE-OH-VITCH). And both are returning in good form to defend their titles — Osaka has won 14 of her last 15 matches, while “the Joker” is coming off six straight wins at the ATP Cup and is looking to win his record eighth Australian Open. Now, that’s no laughing matter. 

Who else should I be watching?: On the women’s side, French Open and WTA Finals champ Ashleigh Barty is Australia’s best chance for a homegrown title. And then, of course, there’s the Queen, Serena Williams. Serena won the Aussie Open in 2017 while she was pregnant (!!!), is working towards a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title and is coming off her first WTA win (the Auckland Open) since having her daughter.

  • And speaking of the Williamses: 15-year-old standout Coco Gauff beat Venus Williams again, in two straight sets, six months after defeating the seven-time Grand Slam champ at Wimbledon. The youngest woman in the tournament could now face Osaka in the third round, or Queen Serena herself in the quarterfinals. This is going to get good!

And on the men’s side?: You always have to keep an eye out for Spaniard and wedgie-picker extraordinaire Rafael Nadal (who’s won 19 Grand Slams) and all-time great Swiss Roger Federer (who’s won a men’s record of 20 Grand Slams).  

  • Osaka, Barty, Serena, and Federer all won their first-round matchups, while Djoković is currently playing and Nadal’s first-round match is tonight.

And what about our Canadians?: Our girl Bianca Andreescu is out due to a knee injury and Genie Bouchard didn’t qualify. BUT we’re so excited to announce a new Canadian to watch: 17-year-old Leylah Annie Fernandez. The 213th world-ranked Montreal native will play in her first-ever Grand Slam tonight, so be sure to tune in!