The 2014 Australian Open has already gotten off to an interesting start, to say the least.
Venus Williams was ousted in the first round. John Isner was forced to withdraw due to an ankle injury. And to top it all off, several players were wilted by temperatures rising above 107 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Douglas Robson of USA Today.
Wimbledon champion Andy Murray told Robson: "It looks terrible for the whole sport when people are collapsing, ball kids are collapsing, people in the stands are collapsing."
While the weather has taken over the headlines, favorites such as Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal have already held suit and advanced to the second round. With several other matches promising to be competitive in the early rounds of competition, here are the remaining listings for the Australian Open.
|Tuesday, Jan. 14||3 p.m. - 6 p.m.||Early round||ESPN2|
|Tuesday, Jan. 14||7 p.m. - 9 p.m.||Second round||Tennis Channel|
|Tuesday, Jan. 14||9 p.m. - 7 a.m.||Early round||ESPN2|
|Wednesday, Jan. 15||3 p.m. - 6 p.m.||Early round||ESPN2|
|Wednesday, Jan. 15||7 p.m. - 9 p.m.||Second round||Tennis Channel|
|Wednesday, Jan. 15||9 p.m. - 7 a.m.||Early round||ESPN2|
|Thursday, Jan. 16||3 p.m. - 6 p.m.||Early round||ESPN2|
|Thursday, Jan. 16||7 p.m. - 11 p.m.||Third round||Tennis Channel|
|Thursday, Jan. 16||11 p.m. - 7 a.m.||Early round||ESPN2|
|Friday, Jan. 17||3 p.m. - 6 p.m.||Early round||ESPN2|
|Friday, Jan. 17||7 p.m. - 9 p.m.||Third round||Tennis Channel|
|Friday, Jan. 17||9 p.m. - 7 a.m.||Early round||ESPN2|
|Saturday, Jan. 18||9 a.m. - 12 p.m.||Early round||ESPN2|
|Saturday, Jan. 18||7 p.m. - 9 p.m.||Round of 16||Tennis Channel|
|Saturday, Jan. 18||9 p.m. - 2 a.m.||Round of 16||ESPN2|
|Saturday, Jan. 18||3 a.m. - 7 a.m.||Round of 16||ESPN2|
|Sunday, Jan. 19||11 a.m. - 3 p.m.||Round of 16||ESPN2|
|Sunday, Jan. 19||7 p.m. - 9 p.m.||Round of 16||Tennis Channel|
|Sunday, Jan. 19||9 p.m. - 2 a.m.||Round of 16||ESPN2|
|Sunday, Jan. 19||3 a.m. - 6:30 a.m.||Round of 16||ESPN2|
|Monday, Jan. 20||7 p.m. - 9 p.m.||Quarterfinals||Tennis Channel|
|Monday, Jan. 20||9 p.m. - 2 a.m.||Quarterfinals||ESPN2|
|Monday, Jan. 20||3 a.m. - 5:30 a.m.||Quarterfinals||ESPN2|
|Tuesday, Jan. 21||3 p.m. - 6 p.m.||Quarterfinals||ESPN2|
|Tuesday, Jan. 21||7 p.m. - 9 p.m.||Quarterfinals||Tennis Channel|
|Tuesday, Jan. 21||9 p.m. - 2 a.m.||Quarterfinals||ESPN2|
|Tuesday, Jan. 21||3:30 a.m. - 6 a.m.||Quarterfinals||ESPN2|
|Wednesday, Jan. 22||3 p.m. - 6 p.m.||Quarterfinals||ESPN2|
|Wednesday, Jan. 22||7 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.||TBA||Tennis Channel|
|Wednesday, Jan. 22||9:30 p.m. - 2 a.m.||Women's semifinals||ESPN2|
|Wednesday, Jan. 22||3:30 a.m. - 6 a.m.||Men's semifinal #1||ESPN|
|Thursday, Jan. 23||2 p.m. - 6 p.m.||Men's semifinal #1||ESPN2|
|Thursday, Jan. 23||11 p.m. - 3 a.m.||Women's doubles final||Tennis Channel|
|Thursday, Jan. 23||3:30 a.m. - 6 a.m.||Men's semifinal #2||ESPN|
|Friday, Jan. 24||2 p.m. - 6 p.m.||Men's semifinal #2||ESPN2|
|Friday, Jan. 24||3 a.m. - 5:30 a.m.||Women's championship||ESPN|
|Saturday, Jan. 25||5:30 a.m. - 7:30 a.m.||Men's doubles final||Tennis Channel|
|Saturday, Jan. 25||9 a.m. - 11 a.m.||Women's championship||ESPN2|
|Saturday, Jan. 25||3 a.m. - 6:30 a.m.||Men's championship||ESPN|
|Sunday, Jan. 26||9 a.m. - 2 p.m.||Men's championship||ESPN2|
|Sunday, Jan. 26||12 a.m. - 2 a.m.||Mixed doubles final||Tennis Channel|
Will Extreme Weather Continue to Dominate Headlines?
Simply put, no. The sweltering weather that caused several players to complain in the opening days of competition will continue over the next few days but will more than likely trigger the "extreme heat" policy in the Aussie Open.
In the first round, several players were forced to drop out, as ESPN Tennis points out:
According to The Weather Channel, it appears the temperatures of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit will continue until the weekend. With the consistently hot weather, the complaints won't lessen. Whether or not the policy kicks in, officials will be prompted to close the retractable roofs in Rod Laver Arena and Hisense Arena.
In a statement that Robson included in his piece, Australian Open referee Wayne McKewen spoke about what needed to happen to have the policy take place:
In order for the heat rule to be implemented we have to reach a minimum threshold and have a forecast that it will be sustained for a reasonable time. That didn't happen.
If the policy goes into effect, play will be stopped on outside courts as well. Therefore, the likelihood of weather being an issue is immensely low. While the heat has already affected the tournament and taken away from the Grand Slam as a whole, it will be over by the weekend.
Can Anyone Knock Off Djokovic or Azarenka?
The two most dominant players at the Australian Open for the last few seasons have been Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka. Both are two-time defending winners in Melbourne, with Djokovic looking for his fourth straight title.
On the women's side, Azarenka actually comes in as the underdog, despite being crowned as the victor in the last two years. Serena Williams is the undisputed No. 1 seed in the tournament and in the world after taking both the French Open and U.S. Open in 2013.
In fact, Williams' coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, believes she has a chance to win every Grand Slam this year, according to Russell Fuller of BBC Sport:
With Serena, everything is possible.
Look at the level she plays at at the moment. She's beaten all the top players many times, so you can aim that high. [...] Of course it would be exceptional because it's crazy to do that. It's happened just a few times in the history of tennis - but she can do it and the goal is to do the best possible in all four Grand Slams. So why not?
Who is more likely to repeat in the Aussie Open?
Outside of Williams, other hopefuls such as Li Na and Maria Sharapova appear to be playing at a high level coming into the competition. But until Azarenka is knocked off her throne, the Belarusian is still at the top of the list.
As for Djokovic's grasp on the Aussie Open, his success doesn't appear to be exclusive to playing in Melbourne. The former No. 1 player in the world has been kicked out of the top spot in the sport by Nadal again, but his recent change to Boris Becker as his coach could signal a return to dominance.
The only issue with that equation is the parity in the men's side of the tennis bracket. With other competitors such as Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Juan Martin del Potro and, most importantly, Nadal, Djokovic could struggle against any of those players in the final.
Much like Azarenka, Djokovic still appears to be on a course to continue his dominance in the Aussie Open. Until someone prevents it from happening, both could continue their reign in Melbourne.