Australian Open Tournament History
The Australian Open began in 1905. Held a far distance away from any other nation, it wasn't until the 1920's that many foreign tennis players would partake due to lengthy travel times. Thus, most of the early Australian Open champions hailed from Australia. The first champion was Rodney Heath.
Played on grass until 1987, the Australian Open recently switched surfaces to hard courts. Additionally, the Australian Open was held in different cities depending on the year including Sydney and Brisbane, as well as several times being held in New Zealand. In 1972, the Australian Open found a permanent home in Melbourne.
As the first Grand Slam tournament every year, the Australian Open is always a very competitive event, and helps players set the tone of an upcoming tennis season. Roy Emerson holds the most men's single titles with 6 earned in the 1960's, while Margaret Court managed a record 7 Australian Open titles during the same period.
Australian Open Location:
The Australian Open is held in Melbourne, Australia, a cultural hub often referred to as the "Garden City".
Australian Open Court:
The Australian Open is played at Melbourne Park on a hard surface court. The two main stadiums are the Rod Laver Arena, which holds a capacity of 14,820, and the Hisense Arena, which holds over 10,000 spectators. Both have retractable roofs to deal with the intense Australian summer heat.
Australian Open Traditions:
• The tennis players often visit the local zoos and take pictures with kangaroos.
• The Australian Open fans are known for creating a fun and friendly atmosphere that has led many to believe that tennis fans must make the trip "down under" at least once in their lives.
• Played in January, the Australian Open presents the first Grand Slam tournament every year.
Recent Historic Moments of the Australian Open:
• 2013 saw repeat champions in both the men's and women's single tournaments as Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka both successfully defended their 2012 titles.
• Andy Murray has been to the final round and lost on three separate occasions, making the Australian Open a cruel Grand Slam for the British star.
• Although Serena Williams has won the Australian Open a record 5 times, she hasn't won since 2010, and was famously ousted this year by young Sloane Stephens.
Total Prize Money:
2013 Men's Single: Novak Djokovic
2013 Women's Single: Victoria Azarenka
2013 Men's Double: Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan
2013 Women's Double: Sara Errani, Roberta Vinci
2013 Mixed Double: Jarmila Gajdosova, Matthew Ebden