Come January, tennis fans from all over the world are glued to their TV sets for the year’s first of four Grand Slams which is played in the sunny Down Under. The Australian Open is the official annual tennis tournament organized by the World Tennis Authority (WTA) which marks the beginning leg of the four Grand Slam tournaments. The Australian Open is followed by the French Open, the Wimbledon and finally the US Open.
The Australian Open 2020 is set to be held in the last fortnight of January and includes numerous exciting events, including men’s singles and doubles, women’s singles and doubles, juniors’ championship, legends match and several exciting exhibition competitions too.
Initially started in 1905 as the Australasian Championships, the tournament has today grown to have a monumental following from tennis fans across the globe. It is also popularly known as “the happy slam”, and sets records for increasing fan attendance every year. The Australian Open tournament is normally played in three tennis stadiums in Melbourne – the Rod Laver Arena, the renovated Margaret Court Arena and the famous Melbourne Arena.
Quick Fun Facts You Should Know About Australian Open before it Kicks Off
Now that you know the history and past of the tournament, here are some quick fun facts you should know about the Australian Open before it kicks off:
- Before 1969, the Australian Open was simply known as the Australian Championships because only professional tennis players were qualified to play till the date.
- Melbourne was not always the event host. The Australian Open was played in several other cities across the continent, including Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth and even New Zealand. It was not until 1987 that Melbourne was chosen as the permanent host city.
- Melbourne, the host city always has the most exotic and exciting display of Australian art and culture throughout the Australian Open event.
- Over 255 players from 49 different countries across the world competed for the 2020 Australian Open main singles draw where the US had the strongest representation with 21 players.
- There are over 40,000 tennis balls used in every Australian Open tournament.
- In 1953, Ken Roswell became the youngest men’s winner at the Australian Open tournament when was just 18 years and 2 months of age.
- Co-incidentally, Ken Roswell also became the oldest player to win the Australian Open when he won the championship title for men’s singles in 1972, at the age of 37 years and 2 months.
- Martina Hingis became the youngest Australian Open title winner among women when she won the 1997 Australian Open cup at the age of just 16 years and 3 months.
- There have been three women’s players from the Open Era to have won the Australian Open title thrice – Steffi Graff (winner in 1988, 1989 and 1990), Monica Seles (winner in 1991, 1992 and 1993) and Martina Hingis (winner in 1997, 1998 and 1999).
- The Australian Open tournament matches are stopped if temperatures rise over 40 degrees C (104 degrees F), according to the Extreme Heat Policy.
- Martina Navratilova is the oldest women’s player to have won 2003 Australian Open and the 2003 Wimbledon mixed doubles titles, at the age of 53 years.
- Horace Rice holds the record for being the oldest men’s competitor to have won an Australian Open mixed doubles title in 1923, at the age of 50 years.
- More than 300 ball girls and boys volunteer each year for the Australian Open tournament to handle the 40,000 balls used.
- The longest ever match in the history of the tournament was played between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic at the 2012 Australian Open. The match ran for an astounding 5 hours and 53 minutes and ended when Djokovic defeated the reigning champion by 5 – 7, 6 – 4, 6 – 2, 6 – 7 (5 – 7), 7 – 5.
- Margaret Court holds the record in women’s for having the longest title-winning streak, when she won the Australian Open seven times, starting in 1960 all the way till the 1966 Australian Open.
- Margaret Court also holds the record for most singles wins in the Australian Open, with 11 court victories.
- Roy Emerson holds the record for having the longest winning streak for men’s in the tournament when he won the Australian Open title five times straight, beginning from 1963 to 1967.
- Roy Emerson also happens to hold the record in men’s for winning the most numbers of singles titles, with 6 victories.
- The total prize money for the 2020 Australian Open tournament is set to be over $50 million.
- Prize money for individual title winners at the Australian Open is around $3 million.