Wednesday, January 22, 2020

10 Fun facts you never knew about the Australian Open

Kristianne Bontempo | Towpath Tennis Contributor
The Australian Open is well underway and being an avid tennis fan, I’ve been more curious in how the first tournament of the Grand Slam season became the spectacle it is today. When did the Australian Open start? How did it become one of tennis’ largest tournaments in the world? With fans across the globe flocking down south or tuning into late night TV (at least in the U.S), take a moment on the next changeover to check out these fun facts about the Australian Open. You might be surprised how much you never knew about the Open down under. 
  1. The Australian Open (formerly known as Australian Championship) was first introduced in 1905 and was held in a cricket field. The Australian Open did not have its current title until 1969.
  2. Earlier the game was not only played across several cities in Australia but was also played in New Zealand in 1906 and 1912. From 1987 onward it was played in Melbourne.
  3. In 1988, the tournament made its first change by introducing hard courts instead of grass ones.
  4. Due to its distant geographical location, the Australian Open did not have foreign players until the year 1946 when several US players came to Australia by plane. Some of the recognized players who became popular from this event include Rod Laver, Margaret Smith and Roy Emerson.
  5. The tournament was not held between 1916 and 1918, or 1940 and 1945, due to international conflicts happening at the time.
  6. During the 80's, the tournament was held on the last week of November into the first week of December. That was the setup until 1985. After that year, the games have since been held in the middle of January starting in 1987. Because of the new schedule, there was no Australian Open in 1986.
  7. Martina Hingis is the youngest woman to win the Australian Open at the age of 16.
  8. Ken Rosewall holds the record for both the youngest and the oldest man to win the Australian Open. He became the youngest winner of the competition in 1953 at 18 years old and became the oldest champion of the tournament at 37 years old.
  9. The 2007 tournament is regarded as the hottest playing season which recorded unbelievable high temperatures well over 100 degrees F. Many players had to be put on some intravenous drips in order to cope up with the hot weather conditions in Melbourne.
  10. In 1988, Rod Laver Arena opened making the Australian Open the first Grand Slam to feature a retractable roof. The Open currently has 3 retractable roofs.