The Australian Open was the last of the 4 Grand Slams to allow women to compete. The first Australian Open Women's Singles event was held in 1922, 17 years after the tournament was initiated.
Australian Margaret Molesworth was the inaugural champion. Initially, the tournament was not very popular drawing in a small pool of players mainly from Australia and New Zealand. Over the years, just as the Men's game grew leaps and bounds in popularity and participation, the women's game was not far behind.
In the early days, Women's Singles matches at the Australian Open were decided in 5 sets just like Men's. The Australian Open was the second Grand Slam after the US Open to offer equal prize money to both Men and Women competitors. This has been the norm since 2001.
The winner of the Australian Open Women's Singles trophy takes home a replica of the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Trophy named in honor of the great Champion who won the Australian Open 5 times. Margaret Court is the most successful Women's player at the Australian Open with 11 Singles, 8 Doubles and 4 Mixed Doubles Titles.
The Margaret Court Arena which is the second biggest arena among Australian Open stadia is named after her. We take a look at the competition's 5 youngest winners :
#5 Steffi Graf
One of the sport's greatest athletes, Steffi Graf is the only tennis athlete to win the Golden Slam - All 4 Grand Slams and the Olympics Gold in the same year. A prodigious talent, Graf took the tennis world by storm in the late 1980s with her aggressive blend of tennis and charm on and off the court.
Ranked Number 1 in the WTA rankings for a record 377 weeks, Graf won 22 Grand Slam titles and is the only player to win at least 4 Grand Slam titles in each of the 4 Grand Slam tournaments. Graf won her first Australian Open in 1988 - the same year she won the historic 'Golden Slam'. She was 19 years, 223 days old at the time.