The outstanding records and stats ahead of the ‘Happy Slam’
The Australian Open is the first Grand Slam of the tennis season, nicknamed the “Happy Slam”, and is considered by fans worldwide to be the most enjoyable of the four Grand Slams to attend. The tournament arena is a celebration of tennis and features live music through its final’s festival, Melbourne’s best food and drink, and outdoor sun-soaked screens to catch every second of the action.
If that doesn’t paint the picture for you, BETDAQ has compiled the most impressive stats and records made by Australian Open players throughout its 118-year history.
Kicking us off and highlighting the popularity of the Australian Open is a stat that sounds impressive and speaks volumes of just how attractive the tournament is. Achieving the status of the most attended Grand Slam ever, the Australian Open 2020 eclipsed the attendance of surprisingly the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open in that year, the years before and ever since.
Making this stat so profound is how a tournament, miles away from the majority of the tennis world in Europe, can draw more of an audience than Wimbledon, the most prestigious and oldest tennis tournament in the world, the US Open, the most lucrative, and the French Open, the most fast-paced. Bringing in 812,174 people over its two weeks in 2020, it became the most attended Grand Slam of all time and has remained that way since. With the amazing promises it makes for 2023, the Australian Open is anticipated to continue pushing boundaries and providing exceptional tennis entertainment to the masses.
Said to be the most captivating of the four Grand Slams due to the temperate, oceanic climate, a crowd that can border on raucous at times, and a festival-like atmosphere, the Australian Open has all of the ingredients to produce incredible tennis. It did this none more so than in 2012 when the world witnessed arguably the greatest tennis final of all time between a prime Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic fighting for supremacy.
The greats slogged it out for five hours and 53 minutes, producing the longest Grand Slam final to date and one of the most hard-to-call and thrilling tennis matches ever played. Finishing at 1:37 am, the record is unlikely to be eclipsed any time soon with Nadal and Djokovic close to retirement and perhaps the only players of the generation capable of producing such a spectacle.
Another mighty impressive tennis record that was recorded at the Australian Open is that of Ken Rosewall’s incredible tournament victory at the age of 37 in 1972. Rosewall had already had a fantastic career and, at the age of 37, by most accounts, was on the decline and edging ever closer to retirement. The unique Australian defied all doubters and cynics and produced one of the most unexpected shows of might and experience, pulling out a final win that cemented him in the Australian Open and world record books as the oldest player to ever win a men’s Grand Slam.
It is hard to say what is more extraordinary. A winner at the mature age of 37 or a feat on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. In 1997, a fresh-faced Martina Hingis, at the age of just 16 years and four months, defeated Mary Pierce 6-2 6-2 in the Australian Open final, making herself the youngest person to win a Grand Slam in 110 years. The youngest winner in the open era to this day, Martina Hingis’ incredible record will unlikely be beaten for the foreseeable future.
If we haven’t had enough exceptional records on this list already, 2022’s edition of the tournament produced one of the most memorable. An achievement that will stick with Australian fans for a long way into the future and may define Australian tennis for generations to come.
At the 2022’s edition of the tournament, Ashleigh Barty won the women’s singles at the age of 25 for her third Grand Slam. Not unique by itself, Ashleigh’s achievement separated her from hundreds of Australian tennis players that had gone before her as she became the first to win the Australian Open in 44 years. Winning a Grand Slam in Australia for the first time since 1978, Ash Barty decided she had done enough to feel satisfied with her tennis career, and her winning shot ended up being her last in professional tennis as she retired to pursue other dreams.
As records go, sometimes athletes have to accept unwanted ones and only hope that their life’s work doesn’t result in a label that defines them in a negative light.
Luckily for Andy Murray, he has claimed enough accolades in his career that this unwanted stat does little to dampen his great achievements and impact on the sport. Nonetheless, Andy Murray has to live with the fact that he is the Australian Open player with the most losses in the final. Agonisingly for the Brit, he has lost the Australian Open final five times and never converted a final appearance into a trophy. Still, with some years left in his career, the Scotsman will hoping to go far on the Australian court at least once more and get one more chance to end the curse.