Founded 112 years ago, Australian Open is now one of the leading and popular tournaments in the world. However, what does history say about this event?
Some Important Australian Open History Dates & Figures
Let’s start from the very beginning, its title history. In 1905 the Australian Open was held for the first time. Initially the tournament was called the Australian Championships and only in 1969 it was renamed to Australian Open.
As there were a lot of tournaments in different country states, the Australian Championships suffered from this and was not so popular until 1905. During the next several years, Australian Championships helped to determine first champions, who became the leading players. They were – Norman Brookes (Australian tennis player), whose name is written now on the men’s singles cup and Anthony Wilding (New Zealander).
So Far to go for playing!
When did the Australian Open become international?
Due to a distant geographic location, foreign players did not attend Australian Championships and only Australians and New Zealanders played at that time, having their own winners. However, even for them it was difficult to get to some cities, due to absence of inter-city transport facility. For example, when the tournament was held in Perth, some players from remote states could not come for the event. Only in 1946 the first foreigners, U.S. Davis Cup players came to the tournament by the aircraft to participate in games. From that time it can be considered as an international tournament.
Already by the 1960s, Australia had dominated the world forum of tennis, with majority of the top class players being Australians.
From Australia to New Zealand & Back
Numerous Australian Open Location Changes
Since 1905, five Australian and two New Zealand cities have been holding Australian Open: Melbourne (55 times), Sydney (17 times), Adelaide (14 times), Brisbane (7 times), Perth (3 times), Christchurch (1906) and Hastings (1912).
In 1972 Melbourne became the official location place of the tournament.
What do you need to know about Melbourne?
It is one of the most green and picturesque cities in Australia. Located in the Victoria state, this city is well known as a “city of Gardens”, attracting visitors with its fascinating nature, culture and art. It is located at the large natural bay Port Philip and expands until the mountains ranges. The population of this city is about 4,5 million, and it also attracts more than 2 million of international visitors every year.
In sports, Melbourne is also one of the most attended cities in the world. Offering its vast opportunities and facilities for sportsmen, it is the best place in Australia to conduct different tournaments and competitions.
As for Australian Open Melbourne history, until 1988 the Australian Open tournament was played in Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club. Then it moved to a beautiful Melbourne Park right in the heart of the city, where a special complex was created for this event.
Australian Open Temperature History
The tournament was held in different months – December, August and others. However in December some of the players refused to join it due to Christmas and New Year. In August it was not hot enough. So, finally in 1977 it was decided to hold the Australian Open in January.
Australian Open New Surface
Australian Open surface history began in 1905, when the game was held on the grass courts only. That lasted till the 1988. At that year it was offered to play on hard courts.
Best Matches in Australian Open History
1969 semi: Rod Laver vs. Tony Roche
Playing in 1969 in extremely hot temperature, both Australians Rod Laver and Tony Roche contested during five long sets, which lasted for four hours and 35 minutes. That was an exciting action game, where two professionals battled for such a long time, before Laver defeated Roche, 7-5, 22-20, 9-11, 1-6, 6-3. The second set alone lasted more than two hours.
Later Rod Laver became the Australian Open men’s history winner in singles that year, defeating in final Spain Andres Gimeno with 6–3, 6–4, 7–5.
2008 third round: Lleyton Hewitt vs. Marcos Baghdatis
Starting the match before the midnight during the Australian Open in January 2008, it was predictable that the third-round game between Lleyton Hewitt and Marcos Baghdatis would last well into the night. They battled 4 hours and 45 minutes and ended at 4:33 a.m.. That was the latest finish ever at a Grand Slam event. With 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-3 Lleyton won on his fifth match point.
2009 semi: Rafael Nadal vs. Fernando Verdasco
With tiebreaks deciding three of the five sets in 2009 semifinal match, Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco had a rivalry for a record five hours and 14 minutes. The match ended with a double fault by Verdasco. Nadal ultimately earned a 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (2), 6-7 (1), 6-4 victory to advance to a finals showdown against rival Roger Federer.
2012 semi: Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal
The final match took 5 hours and 53 min, where Novak Djokovic defeated his competitor. It was really spectacular singles match between the most talented players. The scores were 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 65 -77and 7-5.
Rafael Nadal said about this match: “This one was very special, but I really understand that was a really special match, and probably a match that’s going to be in my mind not because I lost, no, because the way that we played.”
Big capacity & modern conveniences – Main Australian Open Stadiums
Two main stadiums were built for the Australian Open and other tournaments:
Rod Laver Arena is an amazing construction in the center of Melbourne Park.
Australian Open main stadium capacity is 14 820. As January is summer period in Australia, sometimes the temperature can rise up to 45 degree Celsius. Due to this, retractable stadium roof was built to protect players and spectators from sun, making the game more convenient.
The development and reconstruction of the arena are planned until 2020. Some works started in 2016 and are still in progress; however it accepts the fans and players this year.
Name of the second Australian Open stadium is Hisense Arena, which was built later in 2000. Named after its sponsor, it is one of the best arenas in Melbourne. It also has a retractable roof and innovative seating design that ensures spectators are close to the action. The capacity of the arena is just a little lower – 11 000. There are also lights, which let playing at night and a huge video screen, so everyone could see the game in its whole beauty from every part of the arena.
There are three more Australian Open show courts, one of which is Margaret Court Arena, with capacity of 7,500. This court can be also used during the game if it necessary.
Australian Open History Champions
Considering the long history of Australian Open, it was field for growing popularities and challenged to open the talents.
One of amazing players of the last century is Roy Emerson. Being the only male player, who has completed a Career Grand Slam, winning at all four Grand Slam events. He won six Australian Championships, being the only one who made it until Novak Djokovic made the same. So at the moment there are only two of the male Australian Open history winners who managed to do that.
If Roy Emerson was a champion in the most singles, the other amazing player was really good in doubles. Adrian Quist was a champion in 1936-1940, 1946-1950 at Australian Championships, having at the same time the titles in singles in 1936, 1940 and 1948. Moreover he won doubles at Wimbledon in 1935 and 1950, French Championships in 1935 and United States Championships in 1939.
As for Australian Open women’s history, it happened only in 1922 that the Australian Championships was opened for women as well. Already from that time we might see perfect female players and enjoy their winnings.
Margaret Court – one of the best women players of the 20th century & ever
She is an Australian tennis player and former world No. 1. Her records are amazing. She has 64 major titles overall. In 1970 she had a record of 21 singles titles won in one year during the Open Era.
Nancye Wynne Bolton was only second after Margaret Court, having 20 titles. She won the Australian Championships 6 times in singles and 10 times in doubles. Which are amazingly good scores for woman. She also participated and won in other tournaments, such as Wimbledon, French Championships and United States Championships.
Looking back in the past, we see how many bright players were involved in this tournament. But this is not the end of its history. Time and new victories will show us how great the Australian Open is. Let’s just enjoy it!
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