The first Grand Slam of the 2015 tennis calendar, the Australian Open started today in Melbourne and will run for two weeks until 1st February. Defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka, seeded fourth will play in the top half of the draw and kicks off his defence of the title tomorrow. Last year’s Women’s champion Li Na will not be defending her 2014 title after she was forced to retire from the tour last September with an ongoing knee injury, but she did appear with the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup as part of yesterday’s opening ceremony.
Tennis legend Boris Becker welcomes the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup and Norman Brookes Challenge Cup to Rod Laver Arena surrounded by the Ball Boys and Girls (source:Ben Solomon/Tennis Australia)
There are seven British players competing in the main draw events and in the men’s singles competition hopes are high for British number one and sixth seed Andy Murray who was runner-up in 2010, 2011 and 2013. Murray played his opening match at the Rod Laver Arena today beating India’s Yuki Bhambri in three sets 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) and will now face Marinko Matosevic from Australia in the second round. Fellow Brit James Ward will play his first match against thirty-first seed Fernando Verdasco and qualifier Kyle Edmund faces Steve Johnson from the USA. Liam Broady and Brydan Klein failed to make through the qualifying stages. Top seed Novak Djokovic will play tomorrow along with Wawrinka both hoping to progress to the second round to join Murray, Roger Federer (2), Rafael Nadal (3) and Tomas Berdych (7).
Murray has got his 2015 Australian Open campaign off to a good start (source:www.ausopen.com)
In the women’s event, Heather Watson faces Tsvetana Pironkova in her first round match and is the only Brit competing after Naomi Broady and Johanna Konta failed to qualify. Watson will also compete in the women’s doubles with partner Alexandra Panova from Russia. Maria Sharapova (2), Simona Halep (3) and Eugenie Bouchard (7) are all through to round two and top seed Serena Williams starts her campaign tomorrow. In the first shock defeat of the competition third seed Ana Ivanovic was knocked out in the first round by Lucie Hradecka in three sets 6-3, 3-6, 2-6.
The Rod Laver Arena where the Australian Open action is taking place (source:www.ausopen.com)
In the Men’s Doubles competition Britain’s Jamie Murray, brother of Andy and his Australian partner John Peers fresh from victory in Brisbane are sixteenth seeds. Brit Dominic Inglot and his partner Romanian Florin Mergea are seeded fourteenth and will compete in the top half of the draw along with fellow Brit Jonathan Marray and his Ukrainian partner Sergiy Stakhovsky.
For all the news, schedules, scores and tournament information visit the official Australian Open website here