Once again, the tanned, toned darlings of the tennis world have descended on Melbourne.
Although tensions run high and things get heated (literally and figuratively), the people’s tournament is not without its fair share of hilarity, gossip and glamour.
In our Australian Open column, the Daily Deuce, we reflect on the drama you might have missed on and off the court, as well as the sartorial triumphs and missteps of the sporting elite.
Here’s what got tongues wagging on day one:
Trend alert: the man-band
Sweatbands are so passé.
Rising Japanese star Kei Nishikori hit the court in what could be described as a man-band – a headband for men.
Serving no real functional purpose, the thin headpiece can only be interpreted as a style statement.
The 25-year-old, who is dressed by Uniqlo, is clearly pioneering a whole new movement in men’s hair care.
With Uniqlo arriving in Melbourne in March last year, the man-band could be heading to a store near you soon.
A little Li
Popular Chinese star Li Na officially retired last year but has nevertheless had tongues wagging.
The 32-year-old, who has returned as a commentator, has been outspoken about her desire to start a family and was the subject of pregnancy rumours after an appearance in a loose-fitting gown at the Crown Casino players’ BBQ.
Before Monday’s night session, an emotional Li confirmed the news.
“Our first child will be out this summer,” she told the centre court crowd, adding that her husband Dennis had done “a good job – he just made one ace”.
Much to the dismay of self-absorbed fans everywhere, tournament organisers have discouraged the use of selfie sticks during matches.
Instead, fans are encouraged to visit designated “selfie zones” around the courts.
The concern is that players will be distracted by the devices, which can extend up to a metre in length.
Worse, the more narcissistic players could be tempted to get in the shot (Ahem, Kokkinakis and Sharapova).
Rafael Nadal and Bernard Tomic appear to be engaged in a battle … to blind the most crowd members.
The pair, both sponsored by Nike, showed off some seriously bright outfits, encouraging some social media users to question whether they had been dressed by a workplace safety organisation.
On the plus side, if they walk home after a late night match they’ll be safe from oncoming traffic.
The hair of the tournament
Andy Murray’s fiancee Kim Sears is a courtside fixture at pretty much all of his matches, but it’s not just her undying support for him that makes her stand out.
The gorgeous artist is somewhat of a style icon on the international circuit, with her perfectly-coiffed head often pulling the cameras away from the action on the court.
In a move that will probably inspired haircuts all around the world, Sears has changed up her signature sleek ‘do in favour of a shorter, curlier look.
We approve and we’re pretty sure Murray – who proposed back in November last year – does too.
The Genie army
Eugenie Bouchard’s loyal army are back in full force, ready to bestow stuffed animals and unconditional love upon the Canadian star.
Whether any of them will actually get to hang out with the 20-year-old remains to be seen.
Nick Kyrgios’ brows
… What’s going on there? Explanations and opinions welcome in the comments section below.