Now that the holidays are almost over, it’s now time to gear up for the new year. And of course, January is when the first leg of the Tennis Grand Slam takes place: the Australian Open.
Fun Facts About the Australian Open
As a way to prepare for the Australian Open, here are a few fun facts about the first leg of the Tennis Grand Slam that every tennis fan should know about:
Youngest of the Grand Slams
In tennis, there are four Grand Slam Games. The oldest is Wimbledon, established in 1877, the US Open, formed in 1881, and the French Open which started in 1891. The Australian Open, which was initially named the Australasian Championship was the last to be established in 1905.
First Ever match was played in a cricket field
When the Australian Open was first held, the very first game was held in a cricket field at the Warehouseman’s Cricket Ground. Today, the facility is known as the Albert Reserve Tennis Centre.
Ken Rosewall is the youngest and oldest player to win the championship
Ken Rosewall is a prominent name in the tennis world, with several Grand Slam singles titles, and nine slams in doubles with a career double grand slam. But he is also the youngest player to win the Australian Open at 18 years old in 1953, and the oldest at 35 in 1972.
Meanwhile, in the women’s division, Martina Hingis is considered the youngest to win the tournament at 16 years old, and Thelma Coyne Long as the oldest at age 35.
Australian Summer Heat
The biggest challenge for players in the Australian Open is the Australian heat. The tournament is set in January when summer in Australia is in full swing. And with summer comes the sweltering heat that can reach up to 40 degrees Celsius. Being out in the heat is hard, much more so if you’re playing tennis. That is why players are encouraged to make use of braided ice towels to keep cool in between sets. And in 1988, the Extreme Heat Policy was put in place wherein the referee can stop the game at any time if the temperature reaches 40 degrees.
Longest Match is 5hrs and 53 minutes
Unlike sports like basketball or American football, tennis does not have a time limit. That is why matches can sometimes last for hours on end, and in the Australian Open, the longest game lasted for five hours. That game was between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic during the final match in the Australian Open in 2012. Djokovic ended up defeating Nadal 7-5.
1977 and 1986
The Australian Open has its fair share of hiccups over its existence. One of which happened in 1977. Before that year, the games have always been held between December to January. Following the games from December 1976 to January 1977, the organisers wanted the second tournament for that year to be held in December 1977. The drawback was that not a lot of players competed.
But if the tournament happened twice in 1977, it was not held at all in 1986. During the 80s, the games were held on the last week of November to the first week of December. That was the setup till 1985. After that year, the games have since been held in the middle of January starting in 1987. And that was why there was no Australian Open in 1986.
2018 is set for another year of tennis greatness with the Australian Open to start in mid-January. Get ready for more tennis action with your favourite players go head to head for the chance at winning the grand prize.
Go out and make it a road trip vacation this summer, rent a car out and drive with your mates to see the games yourself. It’s a great experience and a great way to spend quality time together.