It is almost that “Time of the year”; Just one more night to go for the big event, the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open, to kick off. With the expectations soaring high and a lot of tension in the air, it’s about time to get our predictions on the card.
Will Novak Djokovic defend his title and add one more to his 5? Will Serena win big another time? Can Federer win his much awaited 18th? Will Rafa stage a comeback? Or will we see a new Champion being crowned this year? A lot of questions remain unanswered while walking into the Championship. But at the end of what comes in the next two glorious weeks, there lies the answer.
Australian Open has never failed to entertain us since it was first held in 1905. What makes this Grand Slam so special and a stand apart from the rest? Here are few reasons why the first Slam of the year is unique in its own way and has never failed to mesmerize the spectators for the past eleven decades.
1. Aussies are the best and the most liveliest spectators you will ever see.
Ever gregarious, ever smiling, ever supportive and ever lively; Their untiring chants and loud songs are sure to keep the game going. Nothing comes secondary to this bright bunch of spectators, who turn up in large numbers to support the players and their local boys every year.
2. This Major has never failed to give us some really exciting and nail-biting encounters over the years.
Oh the thrilling and most enduring five setters! The “Nadal vs Verdasco” 2009 semifinal, which every Tennis fan, both young and old would never dare to forget, for it was the one of the best encounters we have seen so far in the Tennis world; The classic “Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal” 2009 final, that put us all into tears; The nerve-wracking “Pete Sampras vs Jim Courier” 1995 Quarterfinal, that sent chills down the nerves; The battle of the equals of “Andy Murray vs Novak Djokovic” in the 2012 semi-final and much more. Australian open has given us one of the best Tennis moments so far.
3. Australian Open is fondly called the “HAPPY SLAM” by the players.
It has been said that the Australian open offers the best hospitality to all the players which makes this event their most favorite Grand Slam tournament. Federer once said in an interview that he would like to call the Australian open as the “Happy slam” for all the love that he received from playing there.
4. Rod Laver attends most of the big matches at the Rod Laver Arena.
Often regarded as one of the greatest of all times, Rod Laver attends most of the blockbuster tennis encounters of the event. His presence in arena even after retirement proves that no matter how big a legend he is, he will always stand as a big supporter of the game itself.
5. The Australian Open logo stands unique for itself, as it represents the distinctive serve of the great Swede, Stefan Edberg.
Edberg became the first ever tennis player to complete a Junior Grand Slam when he won the Australian open title. Later he went on to win the Men’s singles crown twice in 1985 and 1987. His serve action was replicated as the Australian open Logo.
6. The Margaret Court Arena is named after the Australian Legend Margaret Smith Court
Formerly known as the Show court one, it was renamed as “Margaret court Arena”, after the 2003 Australian open, in honor of the great Margaret Smith Court , who holds 11 Australian open singles titles, which is an all-time record. The Margaret Court holds a capacity of about 7500.
7. The centre court of the Australian Open is named after the Aussie great Rod Laver
Rod Laver Arena a.k.a. the centre court of the Australian open, hosts the biggest matches of the tournament. It has a seating capacity of about 15,000 and was named after the great Rod Laver who holds 200 titles, which is the most by any player in tennis history.
8. It is the only Grand Slam tournament which has 3 stadiums with fully retractable roofs.
The first Grand Slam tournament to ever feature roofed- Tennis stadiums, it is also the only major in which three stadiums are fitted with fully retractable roofs namely Rod Laver Arena, Hisense Arena and Margaret Court Arena.
9. The Hard courts are designed using Plexicushion, which is much slower than the Hard courts at the US open.
Initially fitted with the Rebound Ace, the surface was replaced with Plexicushion in 2008, as many players claimed injuries because of the not-so-friendly surface.
10. Jim Courier and his super-funny post-match interviews.
11. Last but the most gripping reason, Australian open 2016 will always be remembered fondly and dearly, as Lleyton Hewitt plays his last tournament at Melbourne.
The Youngest player to ever become World No.1, will be playing the final tournament of his Tennis career at his home town. It will be an emotional one for Hewitt and for all the Aussie fans who have always extended their ginormous support to their most beloved Champion, Rusty. Although he reached the finals of the Home slam in 2005, he failed to capitalize on the opportunity. He will be going at it for one last time, for his first ever Australian open crown and let’s wish he gets the most fitting farewell ever.