• Updates as the first tennis grand slam of the year begins
  • Play at Melbourne Park starts at 11am AEDT
  • Any thoughts? Email or tweet @mike_hytner

11.41pm GMT

First evidence of a “slam like no other” from our man on the ground at Melbourne Park today, Jonathan Howcroft.

@MatildaBoseley the gates are open for the #AusOpen. Not a mad rush this year. People I spoke to were unconcerned about Covid risk or extra security precautions. pic.twitter.com/laYl9XaY7f

11.35pm GMT

Weather update. This time last year (well, a bit over a year ago, given the delay to the start of this year’s tournament), before Covid was a global concern, all talk was of the catastrophic bush fires raging throughout Australia. Qualifying for the Open had been affected by the poor air quality and there were even suggestions of cancelling the grand slam. Twelve months on, thankfully there are not the same concerns in Victoria (although sadly there are in Western Australia); air quality rates as “moderate” in Melbourne today. The weather too could be classed as moderate – it’s 17C and cloudy and for now at least there’s no need to have a conversation about players wilting in extreme heat.

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