Another cracking year of tennis might be nearing a close, but we’ve already begun looking ahead to the first Grand Slam of the year! Here are five fun facts about the Australian Open, where the world’s best will look to eclipse 10-time champion Novak Djokovic in January.
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) January 29, 2023
Home of the Biggest Underdog Story in Tennis
There is always a great underdog story to keep an eye on. Gael Monfils at ATP Toronto is the perfect recent example, with the world number 276 defying the gargantuan odds to beat number 29, Christopher Eubanks. For those that are looking to bet on tennis with Betfair, Monfils set up another tough tie in the round of 32 which he entered as a 5/2 underdog, with his odds at 150/1 to go all the way. However, where underdogs are concerned, they don’t come much bigger than Mark Edmondson.
In 1976, Australian Mark Edmondson made history and became the lowest-ranked player ever to win a grand slam at number 212. What makes the feat even more incredible is the fact he beat seven-time Grand Slam winner and reigning champion John Newcombe in the final. It is a record that has lasted over 45 years and it might never be broken.
The Only Grand Slam Hosted in More Than One Country
The Aussie Open is the only Grand Slam to take place in more than one country. As well as being hosted in multiple cities across Australia such as Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne, it has also taken place in both Christchurch (1906) and Hastings (1912) in New Zealand. Melbourne Park was announced as the permanent home of the Australian Open in 1972.
Novak Djokovic Has Secured 2 Hat-Tricks
Djokovic is by far the most decorated player in men’s Australian Open history. He has lifted the trophy 10 times, all since 2008. The next best is Roy Emerson, who won six Amateur Era titles in the 1960s, followed by Roger Federer, who won six times from 2004 to 2018. During Djokovic’s reign at Melbourne Park, twice he has won the tournament three consecutive times. The Serbian was victorious in 2011, 2012, and 2013, as well as in 2019, 2020, and 2021. Undoubtedly one of the best ever, Djokovic has claimed the first Grand Slam of the calendar on 10 of the previous 16 occasions.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 1, 2023
Extreme Heat Policy
Playing tennis at a world-class level is grueling enough, but try doing so in 40+ degree heat! The Australian Open takes place in the height of summer down under, meaning matches are often played in soaring temperatures. In an attempt to protect the players from extreme dehydration and heat exhaustion, a rule was applied to the tournament allowing referees to stop matches at any point if the temperature exceeds 40 degrees Celsius – this was later changed to 38 degrees. The policy was announced in 1997 and has been utilised plenty of times since, most recently in 2023, when all play was suspended after the temperature was recorded at 38.3 degrees Celsius.
Most Attended Grand Slam
The Australian Open is attended by more spectators than any other Grand Slam. In fact, it beat its own previous record this year! The previous record was 812,174 attendees, set in 2020. However, the 2023 edition of the competition saw 902,312 spectators flock to Melbourne to get a taste of the action. For comparison, the 2022 Grand Slam attendance figures were 515,164 for Wimbledon, 613,500 for the French Open, and 776,120 for the US Open. The Australian Open is the most attended by a distance!