The Australian Open – A Guide
It’s January 2013, and that can only mean one thing, the beginning of the ATP season. And the first month of the year is also home to the year’s first Grand Slam event, The Australian Open.
Thousands of fans will flock into the Rod Laver Arena to see tennis’ brightest stars compete in the coveted event.
So what’s going to happen? Will Murray win a second Major Down Under? Will Djokovic or Federer continue their dominance of the sport? Or could it be a memorable event for the game’s other talents like Del Potro, Tsonga, Berdych or Ferrer and see them lift the sought-after prize. Rest assured, you’ll find all the tournament information you desire in this handy guide.
The Australian Open is one of the most sought-after competitions in the ATP calendar and has been won by some of the game’s greatest players through the years.
- The tournament began in 1905 and was staged at Warehouseman’s Cricket ground in Melbourne and was known as the Australasian Championships.
- Became the Australian Open in 1969, and until Kooyang Lawn Tennis Club in Melbourne was chosen as the official venue in 1972.
- The tournament has been played in five different Australian cities, and was even played in New Zealand on two separate occasions!
- In 1988, Melbourne Park was built to host the event, as the capacity and facilities at Kooyang were no longer suitable to cater for the ever growing demand and popularity of the Australian Open.
- Due to the move, the attendance of the competition increased by 90 %, compared to the previous year’s event.
- Recent promise of a A$363 million (£235 million) investment from the state government, guaranteed that Melbourne Park will be the home of the Australian Open until at least 2036.
- Attendance of the tournament has increased steadily each year, with 2012’s record breaking attendance standing at over 685,000
Both the men’s and women’s event winners are awarded extremely attractive trophies and as of this year’s event, the prize money will increase to A$30 million (just short of £20 million!). This will certainly be another added bonus for the players.
The Men’s winner will be awarded with the Challenge Cup, named after Australian tennis legend Norman Brookes. A former world number one, Brookes won 3 Grand Slams in his coveted career (including two Wimbledon singles triumphs).
He played a pivotal role in making the Australian Open what it I today, and was the president of the Lawn Tennis Association of Australia for 28 years.
The Women’s champion will be awarded this stunning trophy, named after another Australian tennis legend Daphne Akhurst A master of the Australian Open, she won the title on five separate occasions in the singles, and nine in the doubles format. The trophy was named in her honour after she died tragically from medical complications, aged only 29.
Some of tennis’ greatest ever players have lifted the trophy in Melbourne; here are the tournament’s most dominant individuals:
Roy Emerson- six (amateur era)
Andre Agassi and Roger Federer- four each (open era)
Margaret Court- eleven (amateur era)
Serena Williams- five (open era)
Mats Wilander, 19 years, 3 months (1983)
Martina Hingis, 16 years, 3 months (1996)
Ken Rosewall, 37 years, 2 months (1972)
Thelma Long, 35 years, 8 months (1954)
So there you have it, your guide to the 2013 Australian Open, whether you’ll be sat at home in front of the television, or in the stands at the Rod Laver Arena, it should certainly be a tournament you won’t forget anytime soon.