New Delhi:Australian Open, the first of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments held each year, begins on Monday, January 14, 2007 at Melbourne Park.
Let us take an overview of one of the most prestigious tennis tournament.
The tournament was organized for the first time in 1905. Then called Australian Championships, it was then participated by some top-ranked but amateur players.
It was initially based at the grass courts at Kooyong in the city of Melbourne's inner south-east. In 1968, it took a new turn by turning out to be an open era.
The Australian Open was organised in December from 1977 to 1985. In 1987, it returned to the original January date. No tournament was held in 1986, because of returning to January.
In 1988, Australian Open took a shift to Melbourne Park, which was then known as Flinders Park, a new hardcourt venue near Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Like all the Grand Slam tournaments, there are men's and women's singles competitions, men's, women's, and mixed doubles, and also junior and master's competitions.
Australian Open is the only Grand Slam tournament that organizes indoor play.
As the event is held in when the Australian summer reaches its high, it is famous for its infamous hot days. However, an extreme-heat policy is practiced when temperatures become too hot to bear.
In 2008, we will see the Rebound Ace surface, in use since the past 20 years at Melbourne Park, will be reinstated by a cushioned acrylic surface called Plexicushion. This new surface would provide better consistency and less retention of heat.