The Australian Open is the first Grand Slam of the year, taking place before the French Open, Wimbledon in England and the US Open. While the men’s and women’s singles are the main drawcard, the tournament also features men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles. It also hosts junior, wheelchair, legends and exhibition events.
The tournament was played on grass courts until the late 1980s, but has since moved to hard courts. It is one of the biggest sporting events in the southern hemisphere and nicknamed ‘the happy slam’.
It has had the highest crowd attendance among all the Grand Slams and was the first to host indoor play. Its three main courts – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne Arena and Margaret Court Arena – have retractable roofs.
An extreme heat policy was introduced to the Australian Open in 1998. This was done after consultation with several players. Within policy stipulations, matches can be stopped after an even number of games in a set are completed. The policy was invoked on many occasions during the 2009 edition of the Australian Open – the hottest tournament to date.
The Australian Open is uniquely preceded by the Australian Open Series, which is effectively preparation for the tournament proper. The Australian Open Series comprises the ATP Cup, Brisbane International, Adelaide International, Kooyong Classic and Hobart International.
The Hopman Cup, Sydney International and World Tennis Challenge were included previously, but have since been abolished.
Fans of the Austrlian Open have also been known to play the CaZAino online casino. Tennis and this game have fortuotous elements.
2020 Australian Open
The 2020 Australian Open was the last Grand Slam to take place prior to the suspension of all major international sporting events due the Covid-19 pandemic. Lockdown relaxations have since allowed the US Open and other tennis tournaments to resume without spectators, as a preventative measure against the spread of the pandemic.
Melbourne Park witnessed plenty of exciting tennis, as Novak Djokovic and Sofia Kenn emerged triumphant for the men’s and women’s singles title, respectively. Djokovic beat Dominic Thiem in the final to win the Australian Open for a resounding and record eighth time. Djokovic needed five sets to overcome Thiem, while Kenn also required a full allotment to beat Garbiñe Muguruza in their final.
Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury defeated Max Purcell and Luke Saville in straight sets to take the men’s doubles title.
The women’s doubles title went to Tímea Babos andKristina Mladenovic, who beat Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strýcová across straight sets in the final.
Mixed doubles-wise, Barbora Krejčíková and Nikola Mektić overcame Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Jamie Murray in an entertaining final.
Crowd numbers during the 2020 event were recorded upward of 810,000. The tournament has reported year-on-year increases in support numbers since 2015. There were small dips in 2014, 2011 and 2009.
Most successful single’s players at the Australian Open
While Roy Emerson dominated the Australian Open with six titles prior to the Open Era, Djokovic has since gathered eight. Three were won consecutively from 2011 to 2013.
Australians are proud of Margaret Court, whose 11 women’s singles titles were gathered from 1960 to 1973. So notable was her record, the tournament named a court after her. The Margaret Court Arena continues to stage high-profile matches.
In the Open era, Serena Williams has collected seven women’ singles titles. Her first came in 2003. She has claimed 80-plus match wins since.
Williams, though, has not won the Australian Open on three consecutive occasions. This has been done by five other players – Court, Martina Hingis, Monica Seles, Steffi Graf and Evonne Goolagong Cawley. Hingis did so most recently, from 1997 to 1999.
Notably, Hingis was the youngest winner of the women’s singles title in 1997. She was still 16 years old at the time.
Most successful doubles and mixed doubles pairs and players at the Australian Open
The Australian Open has been a spectacle for fans of the doubles game as much as it has been for singles.
Brothers Bob and Mike Bryan’s six men’s doubles titles are the most in the Open era. Their most prolific run was from 2009 to 2011 for three successive titles.
Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver hold the record for the most consecutive women’s doubles titles at the Australian Open. They won seven in a row from 1982 to 1989. Navratilova was a seasoned 46 years old when she won the mixed doubles title in 2003.
Hingis features among the most mixed doubles titles at the tournament, too. She won one in 2006 and another in 2015. Jim Pugh, Leander Paes and Daniel Nestor are the men with the most mixed doubles titles at the Australian Open with three each.
Nancye Wynne Bolton’s overall achievements in the Australian Open prior to the open era are entirely noteworthy. She won 20 Championships between 1936 and 1952. These comprised six singles, 10 women’s doubles and four mixed doubles titles. Five of her women’s doubles titles came consecutively. It’s unlikely this will ever be repeated at the Australian Open.
Prize money and ranking points
The total prize money on offer at the Australian Open is upward of AUD $70 million. The distribution of this is relatively commensurate across the first, second, third and fourth rounds – and increases significantly through the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final. The winner of the final receives approximately AUD$4 million. That is, more or less, the equivalent of GBP £2 million, EUR €2.5 million or USD $3 million.
Similar to the US Open and other Grand Slams, the Australian Open affords players ATP and WTA ranking points. In the men’s and women’s singles, the title winners receive 2000 points each. The men’s runner-up gets 1200 and the women’s 1300. The same number of points are given to the winners and losers of the men’s and women’s doubles finals.