Australian Open long story: from Rod Laver to Roger Federer's time

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Australian Open long story: from Rod Laver to Roger Federer's time

The organization of the Australian Open 2021 has long been troubled because of the global COVID-19 pandemic that has plagued the world. In the state of Victoria there have been many protests, related to direct flights to Australia, which have brought new positives to the country and a lot of controversy.

Controversy also for the different quarantine between top-players and other tennis players, in Adelaide and Melbourne. But now it's time to play, now it's time to rewrite history. And, talking about history, there are some names inextricably linked to the history of the greatest tennis tournaments and the Australian Open are no exception.

In its 108 years of history, the Australian Open saw many events, even dramatic ones, but it eventually blossomed as one of the most avant-garde sporting events in the international sports scene: from its origins to Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams.

The fires that are ravaging Australia today are just the latest of a series of events the tournament witnessed, for better or for worse. Known originally as the Australasian Championships, then the Australian Championships in 1927 and, finally, the Australian Open, it saw its first edition in 1905 with the men's singles.

Only in 1922 there was also the first edition of the women's singles. From 1905 the tournament was organized in five Australian cities and two cities in New Zealand: Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Christchurch and Hastings.

From '70s to our days

It wasn't until 1972 that the tournament was moved to Melbourne's Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club. During the years the tournament passed through two World Wars and a phenomenal generation of Australian tennis players, such as Jack Crowford, Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Roy Emerson, Margaret Smith, Nancye Wynne and Evonne Goolagong.

Beginning in 1969 with the start of the Open Era, the Australian Open took place in Brisbane. However due to the distance, the inconvenient date (at Christmas or New Year) and the very low prize pool, many of the best players did not participate at the tournament until 1982.

During the Open Era the tournament was played on grass-courts, until 1988 , when the tournament moved to the area now known as Melbourne Park. This change gave new life to the Australian Open: initially the new surface was the Rebound Ace and the new implants were futuristic, before moving on to today's modern hard-courts.

During the 90s and 2000s the tournament became one of the most technologically advanced, with three courts with a retractable roof, a great reception for the media, crowd and fans and all the necessary amenities designed for everyone, fans or players.

Today, thanks to technological investments and hospitality, but also thanks to the triumphs of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams, the tournament enjoys a higher status than many other sporting events, and I am not only talking about tennis. An event that moves big business and that makes all the parties involved thrill and entertain.