The Australian Open: Everything you Need to Know
As the year begins, tennis fans all around the world turn their attention to Australia. All the magic in the world comes together in Melbourne Park!
At the beginning of each season, there’s a tournament that stands out from the rest. We’re talking about the Australian Open. It’s held annually during the month of January, days after the tennis calendar in the professional circuit starts. What are the special aspects of this historical event?
Both fans and players feel a special affection for the Australian Open since it’s the first Grand Slam of the year and it marks the beginning of all the important dates for this sport.
It’s an event with a lot of history and significance. The main court in which the finals take place each year, the Rod Laver Arena, has seen some amazing moments. Are you interested in learning more about this great tournament? Don’t miss out on the next article!
Important facts about the Australian Open
The Melbourne Park -formerly know as Flinders Park- is the stage for this tournament every January. However, at the beginning of this event, it usually took place in the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club. The main reason behind this change of location was the expansion of the stadium’s capacity, which required an investment of 94 million dollars.
The new facilities, praised by protagonists, the audience and the press alike, perfectly fulfilled their mission. In one year, attendants went from 140 thousand people to over 260 thousand. During the first week of the 2017 edition, the Australian Open reached a new attendance record: over 500 thousand people.
Timing and courts
The Australian Open lasts for two weeks, and it takes place in January, right in the middle of the summer for the southern hemisphere. As a matter of fact, the organization has received many complaints from the players due to the high temperatures they tend to experience.
The matches are played on hard acrylic courts, similar to the courts used in the US Open, but these courts are made from synthetic material. This helps to speed up the game and facilitates shorter points. Players with an aggressive style and ability to go over the net gain some advantage in this type of surface.
A little bit of history
The Australian Open has been known by this name since 1969, a year after the start of the open era for this sport, when tournaments were unified and the circuit that we know today, minus some modifications, was created. From 1905 to that date, the name of this tournament was actually the Australasian or Australian Championships.
This historical tennis competition was suspended twice due to both World Wars. The first time was from 1916 to 1918, while the second time happened between 1940 and 1945. Interestingly enough, it also didn’t happen in 1986; it was in that year that the dates changed from December to January, which is why the edition took place the following year.
The top winners for the Australian Open
The top winner for male singles is Novak Djokovic, who is still active. Since 2008, he’s won on seven occasions. Australian player Roy Emerson and Swiss player Roger Federer follow him closely, both with six wins.
In doubles, the top champions are local players John Bromwich and Adrian Quist, with eight victories in the amateur era. In the professional category, American players Bob and Mike Bryan go behind them with six titles.
On the female side, Margaret Smith -Australian, 11 titles- and Serena Williams -the United States, winner of seven tournaments- are the most prized players. In doubles matches, Thelma Coyne Long and Nancy Wynne -Australia- are the top winners for the amateur era, with ten victories. Martina Navratilova -Czechoslovakia- and Pam Shriver -EEUU- won seven tournaments in the professional category.
Australian Open moments that stand out
In the official site for the tournament, we can find some highlight moments for this competition, which will have a spot in the great history of this event forever. For example, one of these highlights is the location change that we talked about at the beginning of this article; this modification happened in 1988.
Another remarkable night happened in 2017 when Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal competed in a Grand Slam final after a long time. The Swiss player imposed himself on an intense and magnificent game. “I wish it was possible to reach a tie in tennis so I could share this achievement with Rafael”, said the champion with total humbleness.
Lastly, the organizers highlight the importance of the first Asian champion, Li Na -from China- in 2014. They also dedicate a section to what might be the ‘best game of all time’. It’s 2012 final, between Nada and Novak Djokovic. The game ended with a 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-5 for the Serbian player and it lasted for 5 hours and 53 minutes!
Without a doubt, this is more than a special date on the tennis calendar. If you love this sport, you can’t miss any edition of the Australian Open!