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Will there be UK success at the Australian Open this year?
  1. Tennis
  2. Australian Open

History of the Australian Open

The Australian Open is well-established as the first Grand Slam event of the tennis season and fills a traditional late January slot in the calendar.

Along with the US Open, it is one of two major tournaments to be played on hard courts, with the French Open taking place on clay and Wimbledon on grass courts.

Players typically warm up by taking part in other tournaments in Australia and New Zealand at Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, Canberra and Auckland in a bid to get their seasons off to the best possible start.

Most men's singles titles

Current Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic has made the title his own, winning 10 of the last 16 renewals of the event since his first victory in 2008.

Rafael Nadal (two wins), Roger Federer (three wins and six overall) and Stan Wawrinka (one win) are the only other players to lift the trophy since Djokovic won his first Melbourne title.

Andre Agassi won four titles between 1995 and 2003 and Sweden's Mats Wilander was champion three times between 1983 and 1988.

Most Australian Open men's singles titlesOpen era only (1969 onwards)
Novak Djokovic10
Roger Federer6
Andre Agassi4
Mats Wilander3
10 players2

Most women's singles titles

American Serena Williams is clearly the most prolific winner of the Australian Open in the Open era with seven titles earned between 2003 and 2017.

Home heroine Margaret Court won the titles 11 times in all, but seven of her wins were in the amateur era. She won four of the first five events under the Australian Open title.

Evonne Goolagong was another Australian to have plenty of success, with four wins in the mid-1970s, while Steffi Graf and Monica Seles were the most successful performers of the modern era before Serena Williams appeared on the scene. 

Five different players have won the six events since Williams' last win, with Naomi Osaka the only multiple winner in that time.

Most Australian Open women's singles titlesOpen era only (1969 onwards)
Serena Williams7
Margaret Court4
Evonne Goolagong4
Steffi Graf4
Monica Seles4

Most men's singles final appearances

You might have thought that Djokovic would have a bigger number in this table than the one above, but in fact he has made only 10 appearances in the final, winning every time.

Federer has appeared in seven finals, losing only once, while Nadal has only two wins in the event despite reaching the final six times.

That is still more successful than Britain's Andy Murray, though, who has made the final five times and lost on every occasion (four times to Djokovic and once to Federer).

Most Australian Open men's singles final appearancesOpen era only (1969 onwards)
Novak Djokovic10
Roger Federer7
Rafael Nadal6
Stefan Edberg5
Andy Murray5

Most women's singles final appearances

Serena had only one runner-up effort in the Australian Open in addition to her seven wins (losing to Angelique Kerber in 2016) but it's enough to keep her on top of the most finals list too.

Goolagong is just one behind as she had three final losses on top of her four wins, while some greats of the women's game are tied for third place with six final appearances.

Martina Navratilova and Martina Hingis each had 3-3 records in Aussie Open finals, while Chris Evert won two finals and lost four.

Most Australian Open women's singles final appearancesOpen era only (1969 onwards)
Serena Williams8
Evonne Goolagong7
Martina Navratilova6
Martina Hingis6
Chris Evert6

Longest match at the Australian Open

The longest men's match at the Australian Open was the epic final contested by Djokovic and Nadal in 2012.

Lasting five hours and 53 minutes, Djokovic won 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5. It was the longest Grand Slam singles final in the Open era.

The longest women's singles match in the Australian Open finals ranks as the seventh longest women's clash of all time.

It was contested by Francesca Schiavone and Svetlana Kuznetsova in the 2011 event, with the Italian player winning 6-4, 1-6, 16-14 in four hours and 44 minutes. It is the longest women's match in a Grand Slam event in the Open era.

Australian Open - The Courts

The Australian Open has been played at Melbourne Park since 1988. Three of the courts have retractable roofs, which enable play to continue in the event of rain or extreme heat.

The finals are played in the Rod Laver Arena, which has a capacity of 14,820, while the John Cain Arena, opened in 2000, can hold 10,300 spectators. The third court with a retractable roof is the Margaret Court arena, which is able to accommodate 7,500 fans.

The Show Court Arena, known as the Kia Arena, was opened in 2021 with a capacity of 5,000, while Show Court 2 and Show Court 3 each hold 3,000.

The tournament was played on grass from 1905 to 1987. Since then it has been contested on hard courts. The current surface is blue cushioned hardcourts supplied by GreenSet.

Evolution of the Australian Open

The tournament was first held at what is now the Albert Reserve Tennis Centre in 1905. It was then known as the Australasian Championships, which changed to the Australian Championships in 1927.

It has been held in Melbourne 66 times, Sydney 17 times, Adelaide 15 times, Brisbane seven times and Perth three times, and has also been held in New Zealand twice, at Christchurch in 1906 and Hastings in 1912.

It became a major championship in 1924 and has been held in Melbourne since 1972, initially at Kooyong LTC until moving to Melbourne Park in 1988, when the surface changed from grass to a hard surface named Rebound Ace.

In 2008, Plexicushion Prestige courts came in until the current set-up was brought in for 2020.

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