I’m a little in getting this post done but better late than never. I’ve also not really followed the recently completed 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. Wimbledon (established in 1877), the US Open (1881) and the French Open (1891). The Australian Open started in 1905.
The first-ever match was played on a cricket field : When the Australian Open was first held, the very first game was held on 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, nine slams in doubles, and 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 is the oldest at age 35.
Australian Summer Heat : The biggest challenge for players in the Australian Open is the Australian heat. The tournament is in January when summer in Australia is full of 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 use braided ice towels to keep cool in between sets. And in 1988, the Extreme Heat Policy was put in place wherein the referee could stop the game at any time if the temperature reached 40 degrees.
The 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 at the Australian Open in 2012. Djokovic ended up defeating Nadal 7-5.
1977 and 1986 : The Australian Open has had its fair share of hiccups over its existence. One of which happened in 1977. Before, the games were from 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 from 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.