The Australian Open stands out as the major event at the
beginning of the tennis season for both the ATP and the WTA. Following
the off-season, the best in the business have roughly two weeks to hone
their game in time for the first Slam of the year, and you can follow
their progress live online thanks to these officially licensed live
The Australian Open is the
first Grand Slam tournament of the year and has a history dating back
over 100 years. Since the beginning of the 1970s, the most important
tennis tournament in the southern hemisphere has been hosted in
Melbourne and since 1988, the "Aussie Open" has been held at its own
location at Melbourne Park.
It is one of four
Grand Slam category tournaments, alongside the French Open, Wimbledon
and the U.S Open. The stakes here are as high as they come in
professional tennis, and for many this is the most significant event of
the season. A number of players will consider stepping on the court at
the Rod Laver Arena, effectively the centre court here, as a defining
moment in their career.
The Australian Open was
first played in 1905 but didn’t become such a famous international
event for some time, due primarily to the geographical remoteness of
Australia. The event had been held in a number of locations across
Australia and New Zealand until in 1972, when it was decided that the
event should be played annually in Melbourne.
winners of the Australian Open include legends such as Jack Crawford,
Roy Emerson, Ken Rosewall and Rod Laver. The list of women’s singles
victors includes Daphne Akhurst, Joan Hartigan, Nancye Wynne Bolton,
Margaret Court and Evonne Goolagong. The women’s singles trophy is named
after Akhurst, whereas the men’s singles trophy is named in honour of
Sir Norman Everard Brookes, who won the Australian Open in 1911.
more recent times the title has been won by Mats Wilander, Andre
Agassi, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Martina
Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, Martina Hingis and Serena
Williams. Williams has won the women’s singles five times, whilst
Federer and Agassi both have four Australian Open singles titles to
their name. Wilander’s success is also particularly notable. He’s the
only player to have won the Slam on both hard and grass courts.
ranking points are on offer for the winner in Melbourne, which for many
would be a career changer. To add to this, an Australian Open champion
will win over 2 million Australian dollars. The tournament is renowned
and followed globally, and is a must-see for any tennis fans.
Attendances in Melbourne have gradually risen in recent years, and it’s
typical for this event to have an overall attendance record in excess of
In 2012 Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka took centre stage in Melbourne. Djokovic’s final against Rafael Nadal turned out to be one of the greatest matches of all time, with the pairing on court for close to six hours. The 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-5 Djokovic victory turned out to be the longest-ever match at the Australian Open and the longest men’s slam final on record.
Azarenka’s triumph in Melbourne was also momentous. By defeating Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-0 in the final, the Belarusian was able to top the WTA world rankings for the first time in her career. She would later cap a tremendous year by finishing the season as the No. 1.