When it was revealed recently that an Australian Open video game was in the works, excitement rippled through the tennis world. The sport has never seriously entered the gaming market, which may be the key in popularizing it with younger audience.
AO Tennis is hitting PS4 and Xbox consoles just in time for the Australian Open, seeming like an important step in the right direction.
Big Ant, the game developer behind AO Tennis 18, has revealed that Rafael Nadal and Angelique Kerber will be the game’s inaugural cover stars.
Nadal and Kerber are of course worthy selections. Kerber is a former No.1 who made a dream run to the Australian Open in 2016, beating Serena Williams in the final. Nadal is the current world No. 1 and won the Happy Slam in 2009 for his lone Australian Open title.
But are they as worthy as, say, Roger Federer and Serena Williams, who have won the event five and seven times, respectively, and who won it in 2017?
Going with less obvious choices for AO Tennis’s inaugural cover might very well be part of Big Ant’s strategy in promoting the game. A more controversial selection can stir up some heated debate among fans—and that’s always good for the sport.
AO Tennis will launch on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in Australia and New Zealand on January 16 to coincide with the Australian Open. Global release dates are yet to be confirmed.
Welcome back Novak, Roger and Serena on Tennis Channel and Tennis Channel Plus
Friday, December 29: Novak Djokovic begins his comeback at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi against either Roberto Bautista Agut or Andrey Rublev.
Not before 10:00 a.m. ET LIVE on Tennis Channel Plus. GET PLUS NOW at tnns.ch/TCPlus
Saturday, December 30: Roger Federer looks to continue his remarkable resurgence at the Hopman Cup in Perth in singles and mixed doubles competition.
4:30 a.m ET LIVE on Tennis Channel Plus. GET PLUS NOW at tnns.ch/TCPlus
And last but not least...
Saturday, December 30: Serena Williams returns at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, in her first match since the birth of her first child, against the 2017 French Open champion, Jelena Ostapenko.
8:00 a.m ET LIVE on Tennis Channel. Additional airings at 2:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. ET.