The Australian Open, the only Grand Slam tournament to be played in the Southern Hemisphere, was the last of the 4 Grand Slams to be established. The tournament took roots in 1905 and back then it was called the Australasian Tennis Championships. However, it wasn't until 1924 that the tournament received its billing as one of the Major tournaments.
Until 1987, the tournament was played on grass. Then, from 1988 to 2007, the surface that was used was the green colored Rebound Ace. Then, from 2008, the surface was changed yet again and what is in use since then is the Plexicushion acrylic surface.
The Australian Open was the second Grand Slam after the US open to regularize pay for both Women and Men competitors. It did so in the year 2001. In the men's game, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Australia's very own Roy Emerson have won a record 6 titles each. In the women's game, Margaret Court leads the all-time charts with 11 titles.
As the 2019 Australian Open (50th edition in the Open Era) is set to start next month, we take a look at 5 fun facts about the Australian Open, which is billed as the Grand Slam of the Asia-Pacific:
#5 First Australian Open was actually played on a cricket field
In 1905, the Australian Open, then referred to as the Australasian Tennis Championships was conducted for the first time under the aegis of the Lawn tennis Association of Australia (presently called Tennis Australia) at the Warehouseman’s Cricket Ground in Melbourne. The place is now called the Albert Reserve Tennis Centre.
The competition was held from 17th November to 26th of the same month. The tournament was won by Rodney Heath who defeated compatriot Albert Curtis in the final in four sets.