The Australian Open is chronologically the first of the major tennis tournaments occurring in a calendar year. Annually, and traditionally, held over the last fortnight of January every year in Melbourne, Australia. The 2016 tournament will be held from January 18 to 31st in 2016.
The Australian Open was first held in 1905, giving it a long and traditional history. Currently one of the four Grand Slam tennis events of the year. The other three are the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. Being a Grand Slam event, the tournament features men’s and women’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles competitions. Melbourne will also be hosting the junior, wheelchair, legends and exhibition events of the Australian Open.
The Australian Open is well known throughout the sporting world, and typically has very high attendance levels, second only to the US Open. It was also the first Grand Slam tournament to feature indoor play during wet weather or extreme heat with its three primary courts, the Rod Laver Arena, Hisense Arena and the refurbished Margaret Court Arena equipped with retractable roofs. The sports betting world is traditionally also agog with wagering opportunities and tennis betting, already a major pastime with armchair tennis enthusiasts, always receives a further shot in the arm as millions of punters aim to cash in on their tennis knowledge.
The Australian Open, played at Melbourne Park, has seen a relatively high variation in court surfaces over the years, which inevitably has also impacted on the players’ preferences. Before 1988, the Australian Open was regarded as a grass tournament, but the similarity to Wimbledon in this respect led to some evolution, and up to 2007 was changed to a Rebound Ace hard court surface, and since 2008, viewers have become used to the blue Plexicushion. This is in keeping with the aim of the Grand Slam events, which is to retain the different surfaces, Wimbledon being grass, the French Open being on clay and the US Open being hard court. The Australian Open is broadcast globally on television and online through some of the most established broadcasters in world sport, making it a truly international event, both in terms of participation and sports betting.
Australian Open Champions
The current singles champions of the Australian Open are Novak Djokovic, who beat Andy Murray in the 2015 final, and for the women, Serena Williams, who defeated Maria Sharapova in the Women’s Final. Novak Djokovic is the most prolific winner of this great tennis tournament in the professional era, with a total of five wins. Serena Williams has won the Australian Open six times, and is also the most prevalent winner since the advent of professional tennis. However, for the sake of posterity, it is important to mention that the Australian tennis legend Margaret Court won the tournament 11 times, spanning both the pre- and post-professional eras.
The other person whose name is etched into Australian Open history is the brilliant little left-hander Rod Laver. The Arena where the Australian Open is played in Melbourne is named after him, who, as arguably Australia’s greatest ever tennis player, won the Grand Slam of tennis twice, making him possibly the greatest player of all time.
The world waits in anticipation for the 18th of January 2016 to see the next instalment of this epic tennis tournament, for the Australian Open is also the start of the international tennis season.