The Australian Open is a major tennis tournament held annually in Melbourne Park in Melbourne over the last fortnight of January. The Open is the first of the four Grand Slam tournaments held each year. The other tournaments are French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open. The tournament is for both men and women.
The Australian Open was played on grass courts prior to 1988. Since then, three types of hardcourt surfaces have been used. Green coloured Rebound Ace up to 2007, blue Plexicushion from 2008 to 2019, and blue GreenSet since 2020.
The tournament began in 1905 as the Australasian Championships. Since then, it has become one of the biggest sporting events in the Southern Hemisphere. The Australian Open is the most attended Grand Slam tournament with 812,000 people attending the 2020 edition. The Open is also referred to as the “happy slam” and the Grand Slam of the Asia Pacific.
The tournament is managed by Tennis Australia, which was formerly known as the Lawn Tennis Association of Australia, and was played for the first time at the Warehouseman’s Cricket Ground in Melbourne in November 1905. The name was changed to Australian Open in 1969. Prior to 1972, the Open was held in five Australian cities and two New Zealand cities. In 1972, the organisers decided to hold the event in Melbourne as the city attracted the biggest patronage in any Australian city.
In the beginning of the 20th century very few international players attended the tournament because of Australia’s geographic remoteness. It took 45 days to travel from Europe to Australia through ships in the 1920s.
The Australian Open is one the few sporting events where the prize money is awarded equally to men and women players. The total prize money for the 2020 edition of the tournament was AUD $71,000,000. The women’s singles winner is awarded with the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup and the men’s singles winner is presented with the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup.