The first grand slam tennis tournament of the year, the Australian Open, held in Melbourne, is a highly charged event, in which the world's top players battle in out in soaring temperatures in front of capacity crowds.
In an effort to ameliorate the effects of Melbourne's notoriously scorching weather, a retractable roof has been added to the main, Rod Laver Arena (named after the legendary Australian player) and the Vodafone Arena. With temperatures that can soar to 50°C, the Australian Open is a fascinating test of the fitness of the world's top players.
Melbourne Park has hosted the event since 1972. It is one of the most modern, well equipped venues in the world, boasting 22,000 show court seats. Fans love the carnival atmosphere of the tournament, with open-air concerts, beer tents and an outdoor dance floor.
The 2012 women's final saw Victoria Azarenka defeat former champion Maria Sharapova in straight sets to take the title. The tournament also saw a thrilling 5-set men's final between the world numbers 1 and 2, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, seeing Djokovic take the title, a feat he will undoubtedly want to repeat in 2013.