When Does the Australian Open 2020 Start? Dates, Seedings, TV Channel for First Grand Slam Tournament of the Year

The first Grand Slam tournament of the season gets underway on Monday, when the Australian Open begins in Melbourne, Australia.

Any sense of anticipation, however, has been almost muted compared to previous year, with events off the court polarizing the attention normally reserved to the players.

Australia has been ravaged by bushfires since September, with over 10.3 million hectares of land destroyed and at least 28 people and an estimated half a billion animals killed.

The blazes have also impacted air quality, which has reached dangerous levels in Melbourne and Sydney and surrounding areas at different stages over the last couple of months.

While rain on Wednesday and Thursday has brought some relief to firefighters in the states of Victoria and New South Wales, air quality remains a primary concern.

Last week, tournament organizers admitted matches could be suspended or postponed should Melbourne's air quality not improve.

While the three main courts at the Australian Open are fitted with a retractable roof, the tournament used 12 outdoor courts last year.

On Tuesday, Slovenia's Dalila Jakupovic collapsed at Melbourne Park during her qualifying match against Switzerland's Stefanie Vögele with a coughing fit and was subsequently forced to retire.

Earlier in the day, practice at the complex had been suspended due to the poor air quality and Canada's Eugenie Bouchard was forced to call several medical timeouts during her qualifying match against China's Xiaodi You.

Organizers, however, remain confident disruptions could be kept to a minimum.

"We don't expect any delays and we've implemented additional measures to ensure the Australian Open will be able to run as scheduled," tournament director Craig Tiley said in a statement.

"As always, the health and safety of our players, along with our staff and our fans, is a priority, and we've committed substantial extra resources to analysis, monitoring and logistics to ensure this throughout the tournament."

Novak Djokovic, Australian Open
Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates with the championship trophy during the presentation ceremony after his victory against Spain's Rafael Nadal in the men's singles final on day 14 of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 27, 2019. Saeed KHAN/AFP/Getty

Amid the threat of bushfires, the usual suspects headline the field in the men's tournament.

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal, defending champion Novak Djokovic and 20-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer have scooped up the last 12 major titles between them and remain the men to beat in Melbourne.

Among the next generation of players, Russia's Daniil Medvedev and Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas appear to be the best equipped to dethrone the Big Three.

Among the women, meanwhile, Serena Williams begins the tournament as the favorite to win a first Grand Slam title since triumphing in Melbourne in 2017.

Williams returned from maternity leave in 2018 and has reached the final at Wimbledon and at the U.S. Open in the last two seasons, losing on each occasion.

Behind the 38-year-old, world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty hopes to win on home soil, while Naomi Osaka looks to defend the title she won last year.

Here's all you need to know about the first Grand Slam tournament of the year.

When is the Australian Open?

The 108th edition of the Australian Open gets underway on Monday, January 20 and ends on Sunday, February 2.

Where is the Australian Open?

As usual, the tournament will take place at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia.

Who are the top seeds?

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal is the No. 1 seed in the men's singles tournament, followed by defending champion Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.
Austria's Dominic Thiem and Russia's Daniil Medvedev round out the top-five seeds.

In the women's tournament, local favorite and world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty is the top seed, followed by Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova and Romania's Simona Halep.

Defending champion Naomi Osaka is the No. 4 seed, while Serena Williams is the highest-ranked American at No. 10, with Madison Keys, Sofia Kenin and Alison Riske at No. 13, 14 and 19 respectively.

TV coverage

The Australian Open is broadcast exclusively across ESPN channels

Live stream

A live stream will be available via ESPN's digital platforms, WatchESPN and the ESPN app.