MELBOURNE—In the waning, dimming days of 2012, a few tennis players took to Twitter to let us know that they were about to begin a “journey.” The message was often accompanied by a photo of them at an airport, killing time by themselves or with their team. Even for these travel-hardened warriors of the sky, this was a trip worth noting. It was one that would take place in both time and space, one that would begin either in the U.S. or Europe and end in Australia, in a different hemisphere, on a different side of the equator, and in a new year. The rest of the world's tennis vagabonds would soon follow in their wake.
I think of the beginning of the new season, and the Australian Open in particular, as a journey from darkness to light. This is true wherever you happen to be. If you’re a fan on the East Coast of the United States, beginning tonight you’ll get a fresh blast of summer sunlight, filtered through the blue courts at Melbourne Park and injected into your dark living room. With a large enough TV, it might even make you feel warmer for the next two weeks. The Aussie Open isn’t the most prestigious of the majors, but in certain parts of the world it might be the most welcome.