Last Updated on November 27, 2022
The Australian Open tennis tournament, also referred to as simply the AO, is a Grand Slam event, making it one of the most high-profile international sporting events in Australia, and one of the biggest tennis competitions in the world. Australian Open tickets are among the most in-demand in the sport and in the country, and the AO titles are some of the most coveted among professional players.
Australian Open History
The Australian Open was first held in 1905, and was originally known as the Australasian Championships. Indeed, the event was not initially exclusive to Australia, but also spent some time in neighboring New Zealand; in its early days, it was held in the Kiwi cities of Christchurch and Hastings, as well as the Austrian cities of Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, and Sydney. It was in the Open’s original home in Melbourne that the tournament finally re-settled, however, and it has now taken place in the Victorian city on more than 60 occasions since its inaugural edition. The Australian Open is now held annually at Melbourne Park, in the center of Melbourne.
After starting the 20th century as something of a regional event in the context of tennis’ status as an amateur game, the Australian Open, like many contemporary tournaments, grew in international stature over time. By the 1940s the tournament was an undisputed “Grand Slam” event, and this, combined with the professionalization of tennis in the late 1960s and increases in prize money, enabled the event to attract more high-profile players and more fans from around the world. Indeed, whilst tennis Grand Slam tickets were virtually always in demand, the AO became an increasing draw throughout world sport.
In 1987, the Australian Open cemented a January spot in the tennis calendar, and in 1988 the competition was played on hard courts for the first time, having previously been played on grass. These changes helped the Grand Slam become the modern event that many present-day tennis fans now know and love.
The AO is played annually at Melbourne Park, a large tennis venue that is home to some of the most famous courts in Australia, and in world tennis. The main show court, the Rod Laver Arena, is named after one of the country’s most famous and successful tennis players. The second show court is also named after another Australian serial winner, Margaret Court, whilst the third show court, the John Cain Arena, is named after a prominent Victoria politician.
Melbourne Park isn’t just a first-class tennis venue on account of its legendary tennis courts, though: the venue lies between the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground and the banks of the Yarra River and is on the doorstep of Melbourne’s bustling city center, which is replete with eateries, bars, shops, and entertainment venues. All of this combines to make the venue a must-visit destination for sports fans and tourists; the Australian Open is the highest-attended of all 4 Grand Slam events, and in 2020 achieved a record attendance of 812,174 people, according to the ATP.
Notable Australian Open Players
As one of the biggest tournaments in the world, the Australian Open attracts the very best players in the world every year; the AO trophies are among the most coveted in the sport, and many players look to start their seasons off with some good form, during the Australian swing at the beginning of the calendar year. It is no surprise, then, that so many tennis legends have made their mark at the Open.
In the men’s singles draw, Novak Djokovic holds the record for most tournament wins. The Serbian superstar has collected 9 men’s singles trophies in Melbourne, including winning 3 in a row on 2 occasions, doing so between 2011-2013, and 2019-2021. In second place in the all-time list are Australian native Roy Emerson, and recently-retired great Roger Federer, who each have 6 men’s singles trophies. The very first men’s singles title went to Australian Rodney Heath.
With 11 titles across 14 years, Margaret Court is the all-time record holder in the women’s singles draw. All-time great Serena Williams is in second place, with 7 trophies. Other notable women’s singles champions include Evonne Goolagong Cawley and Ashleigh Barty, 2 high-profile Australian champions of Aboriginal heritage. Goolagong Cawley won the tournament 4 times between 1974 and 1977, and Barty then won the same trophy in 2022, shortly before she retired from the game. Barty’s victory represented not only a huge victory for indigenous sportspeople but was also a fantastic personal triumph, as Barty had long sought to emulate her idol Goolagong Cawley, at Melbourne Park.
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Attending the Australian Open
Australian Open tickets are usually divided between the main show courts, enabling fans to choose the arena in which they would like to watch matches during their chosen session or sessions of tennis. Rod Laver Arena tickets are often the most expensive, followed by those for Margaret Court Arena. Grounds tickets are also usually available at the AO, enabling fans to wander the tournament site and watch matches on any of the smaller, outer courts.
As is the case at most tennis events, tickets for the opening days of the Australian Open are cheaper than tickets for the final few days, when the matches become more significant as the finals draw nearer. During these latter days of the event, fans can expect to see matches between top-10 stars, mainly concentrated on the larger show courts.
Whenever fans attend the Australian Open though, and regardless of the court on which they choose to sit, the event always provides thrilling matches, as it has done since its early days as the Australasian Championships!