The Australian Open is the first Grand Slam of the tennis year and starts in the second week of January. It's a tournament that never fails to bring both joy, drama and the smashing of records. It also has a fair amount of interesting facts that seperate it from other Grand Slam tournaments held around the world.
Today, we're going to take a look at some of them:
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The Australian Open was first held in 1905 when it was known as the Australasian Championship. It only became the Australian Open in 1969. It is the youngest of the four Grand Slam tournaments with Wimbledon starting in 1877, the US Open starting in 1881 and the French Open starting in 1891.
The Longest Ever Match
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The longest recorded match at the Australian Open was held between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in the 2012 Final. The match lasted an incredible 5 hours 53 minutes with Djokovic emerging as the eventual winner, beating out his longtime rival 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5. The record for the longest ever Grand Slam game was held between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon which lasted an incredible 11 hours and 5 minutes.
The Oldest and Youngest Winner
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Ken Rosewall holds the honour of not only being the oldest male to win at the Australian Open, but also the youngest winner the tournament has ever seen. In 1953 he won his the title at the age of 18 and he won again at the age of 37 in 1972. Among female players, Martina Hingis holds the honour of being the youngest winner when she won at just 16 years old, while Thelma Coyne Long is the oldest female winner, having won the tournament at the age of 35.
You might also like: Fascinating facts about the French Open
The Changing of the Surface
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Originially the Australian Open was played on grass courts similar to Wimbledon. Starting in 1988 however, the surface was changed to hardcourts. As of 2007, blue Plexicushion has been used as the playing surface, which offers a lower and more predictable bounce than the older, spongier Rebound Ace.
The Unbearable Heat
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The sheer heat of summer in Australia places a massive challenge on the organisers of the Australian Open each year. With temperatures that can rise to be as high as 40 degrees Celsius, a number of measures have been introduced to keep the players cool, including braided ice towels between games. From 1988 onward, the Extreme Heat Policy was instituted, which allowed the referree to call any game should the temperature exceed 40 degrees Celsius.
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The total prize money for the 2019 Australian Open has reached a staggering $62.5 million, up 14% from 2018. This prize money will be split across all players across the tournament, with the eventual winners taking home as much as $4.1 million.
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