Top 5 Australian Open champions in the Open Era
If there is one country and continent that lives and breathes sports, it has to be Australia. Come every January, the land Down Under warms up to welcome the fresh start of a new season of tennis.
Right from the middle of the month the Australian Open jump-starts the Slam calendar. And with each passing year, the January Slam becomes more exciting - there's quality tennis played out under some of the best arenas in the world, replete with an immensely friendly and enthusiastic crowd cheering you on.
The charm about Australia lies in the fact that it forms a breeding ground for a great sporting culture. And there, the Australian Open is easily one of the most awaited occasions on the sports calendar.
The Rod Laver Arena and Margaret Court Arena have firmly stood witness to history being scripted in their boundaries and beyond. And the two arenas have housed legends of the sport and some incredible champions.
They have seen a Roger Federer rediscover his flair for winning and become invincible again as he surged to victory in 2017 and 2018. They have seen Novak Djokovic coming back year after year to claim his victory like the boss that he is. They have seen wonderful rivalries flourishing between Nadal and Federer and Djokovic and Murray, all on the blue hard court turf. They have seen special moments of sportsmanship being brewed in post-match moments which melt hearts.
All in all, the Australian Open has always been a big celebration of tennis, and a reminder of what true sportsmanlike spirit looks like.
Over the years, several legends have conquered the coveted title Down Under. But a few make a cut above the rest for having won it on more occasions than the other players.
As things get ready in Melbourne for the Australian Open to begin from the 14th of January 2019, let's have quick look at the top 5 champions of the year-opening Slam, who have won the Norman Brooks Challenge Cup and the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup the most number of times in the Open Era.
#5 Monica Seles
Living in the shoes of Monica Seles was no easy task, especially in the early 90s when she was at the peak of her career. The immensely talented woman from Yugoslavia and later, United States, had to go through a lot in her professional career.
The biggest reason why she is here on this list is because of her true sportsmanlike spirit which she showed over the years as a player. Seles has 9 Grand Slams in her tally with 4 wins at the Australian Open, which ties her with several other players like Eva Goolagong and of course, Margaret Court, who has 11 titles to her name (out of which 4 came in the Open Era).
Seles defeated Jana Novotna of Czech Republic in a tight three set match to win her first Australian Open title in 1991. She came back in 1992 on a high and defended her title ably against Mary Joe Fernandez, seeing her off in a straight sets encounter.
Seles pulled off a hat-trick in 1993 when she defeated the equally popular Steffi Graf in a mouth-watering final clash. But this win became fatal for Seles as it incurred the wrath of an ardent Graf fan, who stabbed her between the shoulder blades during a match in Hamburg a few months later.
Forced to take a two-year hiatus, Seles came back strong and in 1996, she was back at the Australian Open where she won her 4th title as she defeated the German Anke Huber!