Introduction: Tennis Down Under

The Australian Open 2022 will kick off the Grand Slam Tour. Here’s what you need to know about the first Grand Slam of the year.

Where is the tournament played?

The Australian Open will be played in Melbourne Park, Australia – for the 110th time. The three largest courts in the state-of-the-art sports venue are the Rod Laver Arena (14,820 capacity), the John Cain Arena (10,500 seats), and the Margaret Court Arena (7,500 seats). All finals are traditionally held at Rod Laver.

When is the AO played?

The Australian Open is traditionally played over the last fortnight of January and will take place from 17th to 30th January.

Who are the title holders?

The defending champions are nine-time champion Novak Djokovic on the men’s side and Naomi Osaka on the women’s side. Though only one of the two champions will be defending their title this year as Novak didn’t make it from court to court, having been deported after losing his appeal. Which could mean a three year ban from Australia.

In the men’s doubles, Ivan Dodig and Filip Polášek will be defending their titles, in the women’s doubles Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka. In the mixed discipline, Barbora Krejčíková and Rajeev Ram won in 2021.

What surface is it played on?

The Australian Open is played on a hard court. Until 1988, the tournament was played on grass – the same as in Wimbledon.

Who are the most successful players?

Novak Djokovic is the most successful men’s player at the Australian Open with nine victories.

Serena Williams is the women’s record holder with seven titles.

What is the prize money at the AO?

The prize money amounts to 75 million AUD, which is equivalent to just under 50 million Euros. Due to the pandemic, the prize money has been distributed differently since 2020. The winners of the men’s and women’s singles will each receive 4.4 million AUD, which is a third less than in previous years.

In return, those who are eliminated in an earlier round will receive more money. Because these players are the ones who had to take the hardest hits over the past two years.

What are the rules of the AO?

All Grand Slam’s men’s singles and doubles are decided in the best of five-mode, which means, whoever wins the first three sets will move on to the next round. If a player wins all his first three sets, it’s called “winning in straight sets” and the remaining two sets are not played.

The women play in the best-of-three mode where the first player to win two sets wins the match.

What about the Tie-Break Rule?

In both the men’s and women’s tournaments, a special tie-break rule applies if the matches go into an all-important tie-break. This happens at 6:6 in the men’s fifth set or 6:6 in the women’s third.

In this case, a match tie-break is played until one player has a two-point lead and 10 points have been reached.

Who are the trophies named after?

The men’s singles trophy is named after Norman Brookes, the three-time Grand Slam and six-time Davis Cup champion, as well as a former president of the Lawn Tennis Association of Australia.

The women’s singles trophy is named after Daphne Akhurst, a five-time Australian Championships winner (the name of the tournament before the Open Era).

How does the pandemic affect the AO?

Last year’s tournament was postponed due to strict entry and quarantine rules in Australia. This year the Australian Open announced it would require all players to be fully vaccinated, a decision, which long cast doubt on the participation of Novak Djokovic who had entered Australia on a medical exemption. With the final decision coming only days before the start of the tournament, as Novak was forced to leave Australia after losing his deportation appeal.