Place : Melbourne, Australia
Tournament Type: Grand Slam
Surface: Hard Court
About the Australian Open
Venue: Melbourne Park
Ranking Points: Winner — 2,000 Runner-Up — 1,200
Prize Money: A$3.1m to the winner, A$40,000,000 total
Duration: January 18, 2016 – January 31, 2016
The first of the four Grand Slams played in a calendar year, the Australian Open, by all accounts one of the players’ favorite tournaments, kicks off the beginning of a new tennis season. First contested in 1905, the Australian Open, more than any of the other Slams, has seen its importance rise and fall over time.
Low prize money, proximity to the winter holidays, and the distant location meant that, at the beginning of the open era from the late 1960s – the 1970s, many players skipped the Australian Open. Thought it still had the status of a Grand Slam championship, the caliber of players was not the same as the other three during that time. In the early 80s, better players began making the tournament a regular stop on their schedules. Since then, the prestige of the Australian Open has only increased and now, not only does it offer the riches purse, but it is one of the best-loved Grand Slams for its convivial atmosphere, and enchanting environs.
Of all the Grand Slams, the Australian has moved around the most having been played at seven separate venues, five in Australia and two in neighboring New Zealand. While the Australian Open has always been played on hard courts, in 2008 the type of hard court was switched from the faster bouncing Rebound Ace to slower, more aesthetically pleasing Plexicushion. These changes have not dented the tournament’s attraction to players, sponsors, or fans. Australian tennis greats Rod Laver and Margaret Court have stadiums named after them at Melbourne Park, and the list of champions who have hoisted the trophy at the Australian includes some of the greatest players of the modern era. On the men’s side Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Andre Agassi, and on the women’s Serena Williams, Martina Hingis, and Steffi Graff.