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Australian Open

The Australian Open starts off the tennis season and is the first of the four Grand Slam tournaments. Since it takes place in late December through early January itís sometimes criticized by players because itís so close to the Christmas and New Yearís holidays. Because of this timing, many new or unknown players perform well, making upsets a common occurrence at the Australian Open. This has been especially true for the last couple of years.

The tournament is held in Melbourne at the Rod Laver Arena and Hisense Arena in Melbourne Park. Both arenas feature retractable roofs so that play can continue despite of rain or extreme temperatures. It is one of only two Grand Slam tournaments with indoor play. Wimbledon is the other.

The first Australian Open was held in 1905 on a grass court. In its early years, the Australian Open was not popular among foreign players mainly because travel to Australia was time consuming and difficult (In 1920 a trip to Australia from Europe by boat took 45 days). Add to this the small tournament purse and players were not anxious to make the effort to get to the tournament. Despite entering the open era of tennis in 1969, it wasnít until 1983 that big names began to compete regularly at the Australian Open. It has since become one of the most popular tournaments in tennis.

Recent winners include:

Menís Singles:
  • 1999 Yevgeny Kafelnikov (RUS)
  • 2000 Andre Agassi (USA)
  • 2001 Andre Agassi (USA)
  • 2002 Thomas Johansson (SWE)
  • 2003 Andre Agassi (USA)
  • 2004 Roger Federer (CHE)
  • 2005 Marat Safin (RUS)
  • 2006 Roger Federer (CHE)
  • 2007 Roger Federer (CHE)
  • 2008 Novak Djokovic (SER)
  • 2009 Rafael Nadal (ESP)
Womenís Singles:
  • 1999 Martina Hingis (CHE)
  • 2000 Lindsay Davenport (USA)
  • 2001 Jennifer Capriati (USA)
  • 2002 Jennifer Capriati (USA)
  • 2003 Serena Williams (USA)
  • 2004 Justine Henin (BEL)
  • 2005 Serena Williams (USA)
  • 2006 Amelie Mauresmo (FRA)
  • 2007 Serena Williams (USA)
  • 2008 Maria Sharapova (RUS)
  • 2009 Serena Williams (USA)

Roy Emerson holds the most Menís Singles titles at the Australian Open with six wins. Andre Agassi comes in second with four wins. Margaret Court has the most Womenís Singles titles at the Australian Open with 11 wins. Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Steffi Graf, Monica Seles and Serena Williams tie for second with four wins each.

In 1988, the tournament changed from a grass court to a hard court known as the Rebound Ace. Hard courts are unique in that increasing or decreasing the amount of sand on the top paint can adjust the friction on the surface of the court. This customizes the bounce of the ball and speed of play. Hard courts are much faster than clay courts, yet not quite as fast as grass. Generally, they are considered to be the most equal for all playing types.

Some players complained that the Rebound Ace court got too sticky in the intense heat of the Australian summer, making it difficult to move on and increasing the chances of injury. This claim was dismissed when officials conducted an investigation into the matter and found that the heat had no real effect on the court. Nevertheless, in 2008, the Rebound Ace surface was replaced by a medium-paced acrylic surface called Plexicushion Prestige. This switch generated some controversy as many people complained that the new surface was too similar to that used in the US Open.

Australian Open Betting Tips

One of the main things to consider before placing a bet on any of the Grand Slam tournaments is the court. As the court at the Australian Open is still relatively new, the players have noted that it is much slower than other hard courts. Since slower courts suit baseline players that like to slug the ball back and forth in a slower paced game, it would be wise to choose a player with this style of playing. Of course, as the court gets broken in, it could get faster. In this case, a player with a fast, hard-hitting game might fair better.

Check out our tennis page for more tips on tennis betting. Or for more information on Grand Slam tennis, check out our US Open, French Open or Wimbledon pages. Once youíre ready to take a punt at your favorite player, check out one of our recommended sportsbooks.

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