The very first Australian open occurred in November 1905 in Melbourne at the Warehouseman’s Cricket Ground. Back then it was known as the Australasian Championships but became the Australian Open in 1969 and is now the first of the four major Grand Slams, with the others being the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open. Although the tournament has been mostly played in Melbourne, it has been held in other states and countries in the past.
Since 1905, the Australian Open has been staged 110 times in five Australian cities: Melbourne (66 times), Sydney (17 times), Adelaide (15 times), Perth (3 times), Brisbane (7 times), and two Kiwi cities: Christchurch (1906) and Hastings (1912). Nowadays it is held primarily in Melbourne which is considered the sports centre of Australia.
The tournament itself was designated as a Grand Slam in 1969, where professionals and amateurs could compete against one another for the first time. This was a major change in the sport and allowed for a more open competition. The tournament was postponed during the two World Wars where afterwards it was decided that it would be held solely in Melbourne going forward. The initial venue was Kooyong Park which only has a capacity of 5000 seating patrons and the tournament was moved to Flinders Park in 1988 which holds a considerably larger patronage and has several different tennis courts.
A new destination
Flinders Park’s name was changed to Melbourne Park in 1996 in order to promote the name Melbourne for tourism purposes. Since the move, the sport has seen a considerable increase in patronage since 1996, mainly due to the significant upgrades and the intensification of promotion of the sport in the state. The tournament is now the highest-attended tennis Grand Slam in the world with over 800,000 people attending annually.
The legends of the game
The Australian Open odds depend highly on who is involved and players like current number one Carlos Alcaraz and champions like Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic mean that it is not an easy contest to determine the outcome. There have been many legendary players over the history of the sport who have taken part in the tournament including Ashleigh Barty, all-time Australian champion Margaret Court, Evonne Goolagong, Serena Williams, Roy Emerson, Rod Laver, and Andre Agassi. Each of these players has brought their own grace and style to the sport and has kept the spectators mesmerised with their power and impressive skill.
Given the remoteness of Australia compared to the rest of the world, it was mostly just Australians who competed in the tournament in the early 20th century. But as technology progressed and world travel became easier, players from around the world were able to compete and now it has become an international phenomenon. The Australian Open is one of the most-watched sporting events in the world, with millions of people tuning in annually.
As the first of the four Grand Slams, Australia has become one of the top places to watch world-class tennis matches. Although it is held in January when it can be very hot, the Melbourne Park venue is equipped with the technology to offset the heat with world-class air conditioning systems and retractable roofs. The arena is essentially in the centre of Melbourne, only a few minutes walk from the central CBD. So, if you are a tennis fan and find yourself in Melbourne in January, it would be a shame to pass up the opportunity to attend one of the biggest sporting events in the world.