The first Grand Slam of the year is almost upon us, as the tennis world rolls into Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open. FOX Sports Asia take a look at some of the more interesting facts about the tournament.
1. The Australian Open is known as the “Happy Slam” because it tends to be the favourite Grand Slam of most players. This probably also has something to do with the fact it is very early in the season when the players are fresher and more relaxed. The coining of the phrase has been attributed to Roger Federer.
2. The first ever match at the tournament was played on a cricket ground in 1905. Rodney Heath defeated Arthur Curtis in four sets to claim the inaugural title.
Feeling hot, hot, hot!!!.
3. The Australian Open is often played in extreme heat as it takes place in the middle of the Australian summer, with temperatures occasionally rising as high as 45°C. The tournament has an Extreme Heat Policy (EHP) that is enforced when temperatures rise above a predetermined level.
4. Mats Wilander is the only player to have won the title on different surfaces. Wilander won on grass in 1983 and 1984 before winning the title again in 1988 a year after the surface was changed to hard court.
5. Melbourne Park has three courts with retractable roofs. The ability to cover the Rod Laver Arena, the Hisense Arena and the Margaret Court Arena when the weather gets bad now means that play rarely falls behind schedule.
6. Ken Rosewall is both the youngest and oldest man to win the men’s singles title. He won in 1953 at the age of just 18 and then repeated his success 19 years later in 1972 when 37 years old.
7. The Australian Open is the only Grand Slam to have played in different countries as it was held in New Zealand in both 1906 and 1912. It was also held in all five major Australian cities before Melbourne became its permanent home in 1972.
8. Roy Emerson holds the record for most consecutive men’s titles with five from 1963-1967, while for the women several players hold the joint record, which stands at three. They are Margaret Court (1969-1971), Evonne Goolagong Cawley (1974-1976), Steffi Graf (1988-1990), Monica Seles (1991-1993) and Martina Hingis (1997-1999). Hingis is also the youngest ever singles title winner, claiming her first title when just 16 years of age.
9. The Australian Open has gone through three name changes since it came into being. It was originally known as the Australasian Open before becoming the Australian Championships in 1927. It became the Australian Open in 1969. Since 2003 the tournament has billed itself as the “Grand Slam of Asia Pacific.”
10. The Australian Open truly is a global event. The 2016 edition was covered by 1,215 accredited broadcasters with coverage reaching 45 television channels in more than 200 territories and up to 900 million homes each day.