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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 streams.

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. 

Former 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.

In 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.

2000 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 600,000.

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.

To watch free Australian Open live stream coverage online, simply open a free account with one of our fully licensed live streaming partners such as bet365. To access the live feed, go to bet365 > live streaming tennis.

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