January 14, 2013 by Parveer Mann
On the eve of the 2013 Australian Open, players will not only have to contend with each other but the extreme heat that can be equally debilitating. The 2012 tournament began with daytime temperatures exceeding 31 degrees Celsius and the 2009 Australian Open saw record temperatures of 44 degrees Celsius.
This is a trend that will not soon change. Every January, Melbourne is in the middle of the Australian summer that is famous for its dry heat. The difference is striking when you compare the average weather with the other Grand Slam venues in Paris, London and New York.
Australian Open (Melbourne) in January: Average temperature 27.4 degrees Celsius
French Open (Paris) in June: Average temperature 22 degrees Celsius
Wimbledon (London) in July: Average temperature 23 degrees Celsius
US Open (New York) in August: Average temperature 28 degrees Celsius
New York in August is the most similar with Melbourne but it still does not see the extreme highs of over 40 degrees Celsius. Since 1998, the Australian Open has had an Extreme Heat Policy in effect that tournament officials can enact when temperatures or humidity are high. When used, players only have to finish the current set of play and the match is only resumed when temperatures drop.
This week, the temperature on Thursday is expected to rise to 39 degrees Celsius and one can only guess that the Extreme Heat Policy will be a factor. However, one thing is for sure, the players that emerge at this Australian Open will have to face extreme challenges to become a champion.