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5 unique facts about the Australian Open final

Bhargav
Novak Djokovic is the defending champion at the 2020 Australian Open
Novak Djokovic is the defending champion at the 2020 Australian Open

The first Grand Slam tournament on the tennis calendar was the last to open its doors to professionals when it did so in 1969.

Since that inaugural edition won by Rod Laver, 25 other players have lifted the Australian Open title. Novak Djokovic (7) and Roger Federer (6) lead a group of 12 players to have won multiple titles at the first Grand Slam tournament of the tennis season.

Only two players have won the Australian Open title in the Open Era without dropping a set - Ken Rosewall in 1971 and Roger Federer in 2007. Federer was two sets away from accomplishing the feat for a second time in 2018 when he led Marin Cilic by a set before triumphing in 5 sets.

In the Open Era, Dominic Thiem is the 53rd different player to play the title match of the Australian Open. Of the 52 other players to have reached the final at the tournament during this period, Novak Djokovic (7), Andre Agassi (4), Johan Kriek (2), Boris Becker (2), and Jim Courier (2) are the only players never to have lost an Australian Open final.

Andy Murray (5), Steve Denton (2), and Pat Cash (2) are the only players in the Open Era to have played multiple finals at the Australian Open without winning the title. On that note, let us have a look at 5 unique facts about the Australian Open final:


#1: The joint fewest number of different players to have reached the final

Dominic Thiem
Dominic Thiem

52 different players have reached the Australian Open final in the Open Era. The corresponding numbers for the three other Grand Slam tournaments are 66 (Roland Garros), 59 (US Open) and 53 (Wimbledon).

With Dominic Thiem reaching the 2020 Australian Open final, the first Grand Slam tournament on the tennis calendar now has the joint fewest number of different players to have reached the men's singles title match, along with Wimbledon.

You may also like: 5 lowest-ranked Australian Open champions.

#2: Least 5-setter finals amongst all the Slams in the Open Era

Federer (right) featured in only the 5th Australian Open final in the Open Era to go the distance
Federer (right) featured in only the 5th Australian Open final in the Open Era to go the distance

Among 38 Open Era Grand Slam men's singles finals to have gone the distance, the Australian Open (6) has had the least such instances among all the 4 Grand Slam tournaments on the tennis calendar.

The corresponding numbers at the 3 other Grand Slam tournaments are 8 at Roland Garros, 15 at Wimbledon, and 9 at the US Open.

1977 (Vitas Gerulaitis beat John Lloyd), 1987 (Stefan Edberg beat Pat Cash), 1988 (Mats Wilander beat Pat Cash), 2009 (Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer), 2012 (Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal), and 2018 (Roger Federer beat Marin Cilic) are the only Australian Open finals in the Open Era to have featured 5 sets.

#3: Only retirement in a men's singles final in the Open Era

Ivan Lendl (1990) beat Stefan Edberg
Ivan Lendl (1990) beat Stefan Edberg

Stefan Edberg retired after trailing Ivan Lendl 6-4, 6-7(3), 2-5 in the 1990 Australian Open final. It remains the only Grand Slam men's singles final in the Open Era to have featured a retirement. It also marked Lendl's 8th and final Grand Slam singles title.

#4: The longest men's singles final in the Open Era

Novak Djokovic (left) beat Rafael Nadal in an epic 2012 final
Novak Djokovic (left) beat Rafael Nadal in an epic 2012 final

In an epic 2012 Australian Open final, Novak Djokovic overcame Rafael Nadal 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-5 to successfully defend his title.

At 5 hours 53 minutes, it became the longest men's singles final in the Open Era, and the longest final on the ATP Tour, surpassing the estwhile record of 5 hour 14 minute mark set by the 2005 Rome Masters final where Nadal beat Guillermo Coria.

#5: No player in the Open Era has won the Australian Open from two sets or match points down in the final

Rod Laver (right) saved a championship point in the 1960 Australian Open final against Neal Fraser (left)
Rod Laver (right) saved a championship point in the 1960 Australian Open final against Neal Fraser (left)

Rod Laver saved a match point against compatriot Neal Fraser to win the 1960 Australian Open. It remains the third and latest instance of an Australian Open winner saving championship points in the final, the other two instances being 1927 (Gerald Patterson beat John Hawkes) and 1947 (Dinny Pails beat John Bromwich).

Since tennis went professional in the summer of 1968, only two Grand Slam champions have saved championship points in the final.

Novak Djokovic's victory over Roger Federer after saving match points in the 2019 Wimbledon final is the first such instance. The only other such instance happened at 2004 Roland Garros where Gaston Gaudio saved two match points against compatriot Guillermo Coria.

No Australian Open champion has successfully overturned a two-set deficit in the final since Roy Emerson beat Fred Stolle 7-9, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-1 in the 1965 title match.


Also read: Australian Open 2020 | Fearless Sofia Kenin lifts women's singles crown

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Edited by rehaan díaz
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