It's the first Grand Slam of each and every calendar year of the ATP/WTA tours, and it never fails to impress. The heat of the Down Under sun sets the stage for some serious tennis to be played, as well as some gruelling conditions to pull through for the competitors.
Since it has been such an enjoyable event for many years, for both fans and players, we wanted to take a closer look and see what makes it so! Check out all of these fun facts below - just read on and enjoy!
Hasn't Always been in Melbourne
That's right - we couldn't believe it either. While in modern-day tennis we are so used to watching the event take place in the beautiful city of Melbourne, the Australian Open took a while to find its true home. As it stands in 2020, the tournament has been played in Perth, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, and wait for it - New Zealand.
As far as we know, it's never been called the New Zealand Open, but it's still quite interesting to know that it has taken place away from Australian soil a total of two times!
Hottest of all Grand Slams
We might have mentioned the heat of the Down Under sun before, but we need to emphasize just how powerful this heat can be. As you may have guessed, it gets pretty toasty out there on the stadium courts! So toasty in fact, that players are sometimes playing in temperatures North of 40-degree centigrade.
Even the humidity of the US Open doesn't have temperatures soaring this high, so the Australian Open really can be brutal for the participants. You'll notice that players are constantly asking for towels filled with ice, taking more bathroom breaks than usual, and generally getting fatigued much quicker than they usually would.
$100 Donation for Every Ace - Exclusively for 2020
The bushfires in Australia recently have devastated the landscape, obliterating indigenous locations and destroying habitats for some of Australia’s much-loved animals. So for the 2020 event, the organizers have chosen to donate $100 for every ace served during the entire event. The players are also making their own donations to contribute to the efforts to control and restore some form of normality to Australia's bushlands.
This is fantastic when you've got players like Reilly Opelka, John Isner, Kevin Anderson, Ivo Karlovic, and other huge servers taking part in the men’s event. These guys alone will probably be responsible for several thousand being contributed!
Favourite Event for the Games Greats
We are living in a time of some of the greatest tennis players the game has ever seen. Players like Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic have been so remarkably dominant that the Grand Slam titles have racked up quickly for them all. While Nadal has the French Open as a favourite, some of the others have shown a strong affection for this event - and they've enjoyed incredible success in Melbourne.
Let's check out just how much success they've actually had right here.
Roger Federer - 6 titles
Federer first won the event back in 2004, so it's just insane that he is still fighting for titles 16 years later. He's an inspiration for tennis players all over the world, and who knows - will he still be competing in the Australian Open when he surpasses 40 years old?
Novak Djokovic - 7 titles
The only man that stands on a higher pedestal than Federer at the Australian Open is Novak Djokovic. The sensational Serb won the event for the first time back in 2008, and it's been a bit of a fairytale since then. He's destroyed the likes of Nadal and Murray on his quest to 7 titles, so it's been no mean feat!
Serena Williams - 7 titles
Serena has dominated the women’s game like no other before her. She won the Australian Open in 2003 for the first time, and she last won it in 2017. That's a whole 14 years between her first title and her most recent title, which is longer than some players’ entire careers.
These are the three players that have won the most titles at the event in the Open Era, which is classified as events held after 1968.
First Grand Slam to develop a Retractable Roof
The inclusion of retractable roofs in the interest of Grand Slam tennis has changed the game forever. Fans will no longer buy stadium court tickets and suffer sleepless nights over concerns if the weather will hold! Players will no longer suffer such schedule disruptions at these events since the roof provides a court for play to take place at all times. It's just generally a fantastic thing for the game of tennis, and the Australian Open was the first to build one.
It's not a major concern if there's a flash storm in Melbourne either since the roof closes in less than 5 minutes. They actually had the first roof developed in 1987, before the other slams had even given this idea a second thought. Nowadays, the roof is incredibly advanced and the time to close has been reduced down from 20 minutes to less than 5.
In fact, the Australian Open now has three courts with retractable roofs - the Margaret Court Arena and the Hisense Stadium. With these three together combined with the weather, the Australian Open 2020 should have the most interrupted schedules of play ever seen at a Grand Slam.