While Americans were freezing their Tebows off watching playoff football, the first major tennis tournament of the year kicked off in Australia, with temperatures in Melbourne hitting 92 on day one. Dylan Stableford, Deadspin's tennis editor, has a preview of the action Down Under.
A few weeks ago, the biggest question coming into the 2012 Australian Open—and the tennis season in general—figured to be simple: Can Novak Djokovic—who began 2011 by winning 43 straight matches en route to three Grand Slam titles, 10 overall, and the greatest year in the history of tennis—do it again? (Related question: Will any gluten be consumed on the ATP tour this year?)
That is, until Serena Williams managed to spark a hip-hop beef between Drake and Common, a firestorm of criticism over comments ("I don't love tennis"), and a minor fury over the new John Basedow-like abs she unveiled in Australia. (Yes, Serena has a six-pack. And this from a woman who said last week: "I've actually never liked sports, and I never understood how I became an athlete. I don't like working out. I don't like anything that has to do with working physically.")