The first of the four “Grand Slam” events held throughout the tennis season is the Australian Open. The 101st edition of the tournament took place in Melbourne in January 2013. Seeds and matchups are determined by the Australian Open draw held shortly before the tournament gets underway.
History of the Australian Open Draw
The Australian Open was first known as the “Australasian Open” and the first event took place at Warehouseman’s Cricket Ground in 1905. The tournament was later called the “Australian Championships” in 1927 before becoming the Australian Open shortly after the start of the Open era in 1969.
In the first-ever men’s final, Rodney Heath bounced back from losing the first set and notched a four-set victory over Arthur Curtis. The first women’s singles champion wasn’t crowned until 1922. In the first women’s final, Margaret Molesworth defeated Esna Boyd Robertson, who lost in the first five finals before breaking through in 1927. She lost in the final again, however, the following year.
What is known as the “Open Era” began in 1968. This marked the first time events allowed professional players to compete against amateurs. Before the era began, Australian Roy Emerson collected six singles championships on the men’s side. While on the women’s side, Margaret Court collected seven of her 11 championships before the start of the era.
In the 2013 men’s singles final, Novak Djokovic outlasted Andy Murray to win the Aussie Open for the fourth time in his career. Djokovic captured his third straight Australian championship by notching a 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, 6-2 win. On the women’s side, Victoria Azarenka downed Li Na to win the Aussie for the second straight year.
With his victory, Djokovic tied Andre Agassi and Roger Federer atop the all-time championship list. Djokovic’s three straight titles are also the most by any male in the Open era. Meanwhile, American Serena Williams leads all women with five championships since the start of the era. In 2003, the legendary Martina Navratilova became the oldest player to win a singles title at 46 years and three months.
To date, the 2013 Aussie Open was the highest paying tennis tournament of all time. Djokovic and Azarenka each took home over 2.4-million Australian dollars each for their respective victories. Murray and Na netted 1.2-million Australian dollars apiece.
Download: Australian Open Draw