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Tournament Profile: Australian Open

By

First Played:

Men: 1905; Women: 1922.

Location:

Melbourne.

Court Surface:

Plexicushion.

Time of Year:

January.

Sizes of Draws:

  • Men's and Women's Singles: 128
  • Men's and Women's Doubles: 64

Principal Stadium or Court:

Rod Laver Arena.


The Plexicushion courts used at the Australian Open are slower hard courts than those used at the US Open. A slower hard court makes topspin strokes easier to execute, because the player has more time for a longer swing, and more effective, because the spin bites into the slower surface instead of skidding across it, thus making the ball bounce higher.

Melbourne's summer heat is a major factor at the Australian Open. The tournament has special rules allowing for breaks due to excessive heat, and those players who can retain their stamina and concentration in the heat have a big advantage. Tennis balls bounce significantly higher in hot weather, so players who like to hit high-bouncing balls or make their opponents hit them, such as with a big kick serve, also have an edge.

The two main stadiums for the Australian Open, Rod Laver Arena and Hisense Arena, have retractable roofs. Wimbledon, with its famously rainy weather, caught on and added a retractable roof over Centre Court in 2009, but the other two Slams are still at the mercy of the weather.

Power baseliners have had the most success in the last twenty years or so at the Australian Open. Monica Seles, as pure a power baseliner as we've ever seen, won it four times. Steffi Graf also claimed four titles; Jennifer Capriati two. Andre Agassi won three Australian Opens, Ivan Lendl and Jim Courier two each, and more recently, Serena Williams has won five and Novak Djokovic three. A few all-court players have also done well: Martina Hingis won three titles, Pete Sampras won two, and Roger Federer has won four.

Australian Open - Men's Singles Past Winners
Australian Open - Women's Singles Past Winners
Australian Open - Men's Doubles Past Winners
Australian Open - Women's Doubles Past Winners
Australian Open - Mixed Doubles Past Winners

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