The four Grand Slam tournaments – the Australian Open, the French Open, the Wimbledon Championships, and the U.S Open – are the most prestigious and awaited ones in the world of tennis. And for tennis fans, the wait is over! The first grand slam of the calendar year – the Australia Open is already underway.
And because the Australian Open is being played as you read this, we thought we’d give you some history, information, and trivia about this very anticipated and watched grand slam.
History of the Australian Open
The first Australian Open was held in 1905 and was played at the Warehouseman’s Cricket Ground in Melbourne. It was initially called the Australasian Championships and was subsequently rechristened the Australian Championship. Only in 1969, was it first called the Australian Open.
Originally, the Australian Open was held in four cities of Australia – Brisbane, Perth, Sydney, and Melbourne. However, because Melbourne was the only city that consistently attracted a large crowd, it was decided that Melbourne would be the only city that would host the tournament.
A new era in the Australian Open was ushered when it was decided that the matches would be played on blue -hard courts rather than grass courts. Before that, until 1988, matches were always played on courts with grass. Since 1988, the event has been held at Melbourne Park.
Today, the winners of both the men’s and women’s championships are awarded 2000 points.
- In memory of the legendary tennis player from Australia, Daphne Akhurst, the women’s singles trophy is called the ‘Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup.’
- The men’s singles trophy is called the ‘Norman Brookes Challenge Cup’ in honour of Norman Brookes, the iconic Australian tennis player.
- While the tournament is held once annually in January, in 1977, it was surprisingly held twice. This was because of the subsequent tournament being held in December of the same year.
- In 1997, Martina Hingis of Switzerland became the youngest ever Grand Slam winner when she defeated Mary Pierce in the final to win the Australian Open. She was all of 16 years and 117 days.
- The Australian Open final in 2012 holds the unique distinction of being the longest grand slam final ever. The match between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic lasted a massive five hours and 53 minutes. It was Djokovic that emerged victorious after this marathon of a batch.
- In 2014, China’s Li Na became the first Asian to win the Australian Open. She did so by defeating Slovakian Dominica Cibulkova.
Achievements and Records
As on today, the record for the maximum number of men’s singles titles is held jointly by Australian Roy Emerson, Serbian Novak Djokovic, and Swissman Roger Federer. They have won 6 titles each. Roy Emerson also holds the honour of winning the maximum number of consecutive Australian Open titles – 5.
As on today, the record for the maximum number of women’s singles titles is held by Australian Margaret Court. She also holds the distinction of winning the most number of consecutive women’s singles titles.
The Australian Open of 2019 is currently being played. And we can’t wait to see who the winners would be. We will certainly keep you posted!