The 2023 Australian Open is nearly here but there have been fresh calls for the Grand Slam tournament to be rescheduled moving forward.
The iconic tennis event has traditionally been held in January, which is the middle of summer in Australia, meaning hot and often humid conditions.
That heat makes for tough matches for players, particularly when they compete during the day.
Some players have previously referenced the bad timing of the Australian Open, particularly with an already packed schedule, and a recent article from NewsCorp calling for it to be rescheduled has turned heads.
MORE: Complete 2023 Australian Open schedule
Could the Australian Open start date change?
In 2023, the Australian Open dates are definitely not changing with the tournament scheduled to start on January 16 and end on January 29 this year.
The NewsCorp article suggests the event should be held in either February or October moving forward to avoid the worst of the heat, and logistically this wouldn’t clash with any of the other three Grand Slams.
Australian Open chief Craig Tiley has, however, directly hit out at such a suggestion and backed the timing of the tournament to remain the same moving forward.
“I did read that, I thought it was absolutely ridiculous – a bizarre claim,” Tiley said on Monday via AAP.
“You talk to every player, this is the season. It starts in January. It starts here in Australia.
“Alex (De Minaur) has a good point about the length of the season. The sport does need to get together and look at the length of it.
“It finishes with Davis Cup late on the men’s side and not as late on the women’s side but I do think it’s a long season. We’ve been talking about that for a long time.
“But Australia is the summer, Australia is January and this event is, from the players’ perspective, one of their favourite places to play.
“They’re coming here earlier, we’re now seeing players here for six weeks, for seven weeks, and the preparation for the Australian summer is very normalised – they know what they need to do.”
The current timing of the Australian Open lines up with school holidays in the country along with Australia Day itself which is held on January 26.
12,000 team members. 400 temporary buildings. Australia’s biggest shade structure.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 7, 2023
Has the Australian Open always taken place in January?
The Australian Open hasn’t always been played in January meaning there could be room to explore a possible date change in the future.
Between 1982 and 1985, the tournament was held in mid-December before being shifted to mid-January in 1987.
In 2021, the Australian Open was also pushed back three weeks to February 8-21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2023 schedule is seeing the tournament start and finish one day earlier than it did in 2022.