Tennis season is almost upon us! As official partner of the Australian Open 2016, AccorHotels welcomes you to experience the tournament that sees the biggest stars from across the world arrive in Melbourne in January. From Serena to Novak, Fred Perry to Rod Laver, the Australian Open has seen it all. But what makes it one of the most exciting events in the world of sport?
1. Marius Copil sent the fastest serve of the tournament at 242 km/h in 2015.
2. Serena Williams served 88 aces, the highest in the women’s singles draw in 2015.
3. A record 55k sandwiches and baguettes were sold in 2014.
4. Over the duration of the 2015 tournament, there was a record 14.3m unique visitors to ausopen.com
5. 703,899 fans attended the Australian Open 2015 beating the record 2012 attendance by 17,893.
6. 2014 saw record temperatures at the tournament, reaching 43.9°C (110°F). Almost 1,000 fans were treated for heat exhaustion and both Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Corline Wozniacki mentioned that their shoes and water bottles were beginning to melt at times.
7. The Wilson stringers hut restrung 4,763 racquets in 2015, using more than 57km of string.
8. 48,000 tennis balls were provided by Wilson in 2015.
The Australian Open was established back in 1905 as ‘The Australasian Championships’, with the first inaugural tournament champion Rodney Heath defeating Arthur Curtis in four sets. 1927 saw the tournament renamed to ‘The Australian Championships’ before it became the ‘Australian Open’ in 1969 as it’s known today. The Australian Open is considered the first major tournament in the tennis calendar and is one of the four Grand Slams, with an audience of millions across the globe.
Due to Australia’s distance from the rest of the world, the tournament didn’t attract foreign players until the late 1940s due to the long journeys, often taking weeks to arrive by boat from Europe. Since its inception back in 1905, the tournament has been held in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and even Christchurch and Hastings in New Zealand. It wasn’t until 1972 that the event remained in Melbourne permanently due to the city attracting more attendees than any other. Originally held at the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, it was moved to its current home at the Melbourne Park complex in 1988 resulting in a 90 percent attendance increase.
Every January, the Australian Open attracts some of the biggest names in the tennis world to compete. From Australian legends such as Rod Laver to modern day superstars like Serena Williams, audiences have witnessed some of the sport’s most defining moments.
2015 saw Novak Djokovic write his name into the record books after winning the tournament an incredible five times, moving him onto the all-time grand slam leaderboard alongside legends such as Andre Agassi and Fred Perry.
Djokovic’s 2015 victory also sent his opponent Andy Murray to a more questionable place in the record books however. After losing to Djokovic in 2015, 2013, and 2011, as well as to Roger Federer in 2010, the Scot became the first competitor of the Open era to lose four title matches in Melbourne Park. The 2015 tournament also saw Serena Williams extend her lead as the Australian Open’s most successful competitor by defeating Maria Sharapova to win a sixth title.
Monica Seles Defeats Steffi Graff (1993)
Often stated as one of the greatest women’s tennis matches ever seen; the Seles vs Graff rivalry was at fever pitch in the 1993 Australian Open final. Steffi Graff was dominating the sport at the time, however Monica Seles ended up turning the tide and going on to become champion after a three set thriller.
Martina Hingis Defeats Mary Pierce (1997)
Towards the end of 1996, Martina Hingis began to firmly establish herself as one of the most powerful tennis players on the circuit and a suitable rival to Steffi Graff and Monica Seles. The 1997 final saw Hingis up against Mary Pierce, who she defeated in two sets to become the youngest ever Grand Slam singles title winner at 16 years and 3 months old.
Andre Agassi Defeats Pete Sampras (2000)
The rivalry between Agassi and Sampras can only be described as epic. Battling it out 34 times throughout their careers rivalling for titles and number one rankings, the match at the 2000 Australian Open quarter final is regarded as a classic. Agassi was back to his all-time best after much publicised personal issues and Sampras was as ruthless as ever. Agassi won the match over an exhausting five sets, despite getting hit by a Sampras personal best of 37 aces.
Serena Williams Defeats Venus Williams (2003)
The Williams sisters had a rivalry that stretched all the way back to 1998, meeting many times at tournaments throughout the years. By 2003, the sisters were dominating the Grand Slams and met in the Australian Open final. That year’s event saw Serena win to complete her first “Serena Slam” holding all four Grand Slam titles at the same time.
Rafael Nadal Defeats Roger Federer (2009)
The Federer-Nadal rivalry is known as one of the most intense in tennis history. Two players at the top of their game, to date they’ve played each other 34 times often being the top two ranked players throughout. The 2009 final saw both players in fine form, but Nadal came out on top after a lengthy four set, 4 hour and 20 minute match, with an emotional Federer missing out on matching Pete Sampras’s 14 Grand Slam career record.
Stan Wawrinka Defeats Novak Djokovic (2014)
Novak Djokovic was known as the most dominant force in the men’s singles event winning the 2011, 2012, and 2013 titles. Djokovic and Wawrinka have developed a rivalry through the years which saw them battle it out over three consecutive years at the Australian Open. The 2014 tournament saw Wawrinka defeat Djokovic at the quarter final stage breaking his incredible run of 14 consecutive Grand Slam semifinals, 28 match winning streak, and preventing a record fifth Australian Open title.
The Australian Open has been won by household names from across the world since its change to the Open Era. Here are the big winners:
Serena Williams – 6 Wins
Novak Djokovic – 5 Wins
Roger Federer – 4 Wins
Andre Agassi – 4 Wins
Monica Seles – 4 Wins
Steffi Graff - 4 Wins
2015 Men's Single: Novak Djokovic
2015 Women's Single: Serena Williams
2015 Men's Doubles: Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan
2015 Women's Doubles: Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Lucie Šafářová
2015 Mixed Doubles: Martina Hingis, Leander Paes
We’ve got an amazing selection of hotels in Melbourne situated close to Melbourne Park complex so you won’t miss a second of action including the Pullman Melbourne on the Park, the Pullman Melbourne Albert Park and the Mercure Melbourne Albert Park hotels.
If you’re looking to experience the many sights and sounds that the city of Melbourne has to offer, we’ve got hotels to suit all tastes and budgets. Try the Sofitel Melbourne, the Novotel Melbourne on Collins, the Mercure Melbourne Treasury Gardens and the Ibis Melbourne