The Australian Open was the last of the four Grand Slam tournaments to permit women to compete. The first Australian Open women's singles event was held in the year 1922.
In the early days, the tournament didn't elicit great response from the world's best, drawing in only a small pool of players most of whom came from either Australia or New Zealand. But as the years passed by, just as the men's field started seeing increased participation, the women's game was not to be left far behind.
Back in the day, women's singles matches were played in a best of 5 format. The Australian Open was the second Slam after the US Open to bring about pay parity among Men and Women competitors.
The winner of the Australian Open Women's Singles trophy is presented a replica of the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Trophy. The naming of the trophy is a tribute to Australian tennis great Daphne Akhurst, who won the event on five occasions.
Some tennis greats have won titles all around the world, but have never won the Australian Open - despite coming ever so close. Here, we take a look at 4 such players:
# Venus Williams
Venus Williams is the only player in tennis history - be it among Men or Women - to win Olympic medals in 4 different Summer Olympic Games. The big-serving American has been an evergreen presence on the WTA charts for more than 20 years.
The elder of the Williams sisters, Venus has won 7 Grand Slam Singles titles, 14 Grand Slam Doubles titles, 2 Mixed Doubles titles and 5 Olympic medals, of which 4 are Gold.
Her longevity in tennis has enabled her to rake up $40,931,048 in prize money earnings till date - the second most of all time, trailing only her younger sister Serena.
Venus has twice been to the final of the Australian Open - in 2003 and the latest in 2017. On both these occasions, she was runner-up to Serena.
In fact, apart from the Australian Open, the only Grand Slam missing in Venus' trophy cabinet is the French Open, where again her attempt to win the title was thwarted by Serena in 2002.