Melbourne Park, 1 December 2012 |

With warm conditions in Melbourne for today’s official start to summer, players and fans can expect a sizzling fortnight of tennis at the Australian Open in January.

That’s the official word from Australian Open weather forecaster Bob Leighton, who today joined Tournament Director Craig Tiley to deliver his annual tournament forecast and welcome news of “ideal weather” ahead.

“Australian Open 2013 should be the warmest tournament since 2009, with a few days near 35 C or above,” Leighton said.
“At this early stage, summer is forecast to be slightly drier than normal with the possibility of just a few days of rainfall during the two weeks. All in all it’s looking like good tennis weather.”

With a hot tournament on the cards, Leighton will be kept busy monitoring on-site temperatures each day in case of extreme heat.

Under the Extreme Heat Policy, the Tournament Referee may suspend the commencement of all further matches on outside courts, and matches currently in progress will continue only until the end of the set in progress, at which time play will be suspended. Play at Rod Laver Arena and Hisense Arena will continue under a closed roof.

Six weeks ahead of Australian Open 2013 Craig Tiley welcomed the news of a hot summer ahead.

“The Australian Open is synonymous with summer in Melbourne, and players and fans look forward to warm conditions at Melbourne Park each year,” Tiley said.

“The Australian Open Series of events held around the country in the lead-up gives players a chance to acclimatise to our hot summer conditions and ensures all players arrive in Melbourne ready to take on the world’s best.

“We are also looking forward to having eight new indoor courts at Melbourne Park for players to access, a part of the Melbourne Park redevelopment, so now more than ever we’re equipped for all weather conditions.”

In anticipation of more hot weather ahead, Australian Open ambassadors are handing out free ice-creams throughout the city this week and were today found cooling off at Elwood Beach. The Australian Open ice-cream van will roll into Queensbridge Square (Tuesday 4 December), Federation Square (Thursday 6 December) and onto the State Library (Friday 7 December) front lawn this week.

Summer of tennis: fast facts

  • Australian Open 2013 is tipped to be the hottest tournament since 2009, the warmest event on record. The average daily maximum at Australian Open 2009 was 34.7 C, nine degrees above normal
  • The coolest Australian Open was in 1986, when the maximum temperature averaged just 22.5 C, 3.5 degrees below normal
  • On 29 January 1963, 108 mm of rain fell on Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, making it the wettest day in Australian Open history
  • Fans kept cool by drinking their way through more than 155,000 bottles of water at Australian Open 2012
  • More than 2500 official Australian Open towels were used by players at Rod Laver Arena,
    Hisense Arena and the Show Courts in 2012.