The world's best ready for the Australian Open
MELBOURNE Park will be the hottest ticket in Victoria this week.
Not because of the blistering heat expected to take over the state, but the world’s best tennis stars will take to the court for the opening grand slam of the year.
The likes of Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic will light up Rod Laver Arena.
The two-week tournament is sure to bring out the best and worst in some athletes.
The heatwave will no doubt come into play.
Players will have to mentally and physically cope with more than 40 degree courtside temperatures to continue in the tournament.
There won’t be any long rallies.
Points will need to be quick and icy drinks waiting on the sidelines if players are to cope with the intense heat.
The key players for this year’s slam will have to be Victoria Azarenka and Rafael Nadal.
Azarenka is looking to win her third-straight Australian Open crown.
The Belarusian will take on Swede Johanna Larsson in her opening match on Tuesday.
She will have little competition until the pointy end of the tournament, where Serena Williams will surely be waiting.
Nadal, the number one seed for the tournament, is hoping to win his second Australian Open title.
The Spaniard had a remarkable turnaround in 2013.
After an injury-riddled season and not competing in last year’s Australian Open, Nadal won two grand slams and returned to number one in the world.
Nadal won the French and US Open’s last year.
He is in good form and will be tough to beat.
However he must overcome Australia’s Bernard Tomic on Tuesday night.
On his home-court, Tomic will have to play the game of his life if he is to beat Nadal.
In Tomic's pre-tournament press conference he attempted to explain the reason why he ‘tanks’ in matches.
He says he uses it as a weapon that he zones out for a few games and uses it as an advantage to come back into the match.
If he uses that strategy against Nadal then Tomic's chances will be shot.
Nadal is one of the greatest players of all time, if Tomic isn’t ready then the match will be over before he knows it.
Tomic will have to play the game of his life if he is to beat Nadal.
But in the end the men’s competition will come down to the big four, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer.
However in every Australian Open there is a fairy-tale story that yanks on the heartstrings of every sporting fan.
One year it was Jo-Wilfried Tsonga the next Marcos Baghdatis and then there was Fernando Gonzalez.
They all had dream runs into the final but were pipped at the last post.
So will we be toasting a new champion this year?