ATP Australian Open 2015

ATP Australian Open 2015

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19-Jan-2015

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Information about ATP Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament

The 2015 tennis season unofficially starts “down under”, precisely in the Melbourne Park where the 2015 Australian Open will take place as the first of the big four Grand Slam tournaments.  It will be the 103rd edition of the youngest Grand Slam tournament and it will take place between the 19th of January and the 1st of February 2015.

The Australian Open belongs to hard-court tournaments and since 2008 it has been played on an acrylic based surface called Plexicushion, which is characteristic by lower and more predictable bounces and better ball visibility. The tournament is well-known for its friendly atmosphere and, quite often, unbearable weather conditions, which is, however, typical for Australia as such.

2015 Australian Open Courts

The Melbourne Park is already the seventh venue where the Australian Open has been played. It has hosted the trounament since 1988, and hosting of the torunament was actually also the main reason for which it was opened, as Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, the venue in which the Australian Open was organized before Melbourne Park, had not been able to satisfy the growing needs and popularity of the tournament.

Source of picture: ihatetennis.com

The construction of the Park was finished in 1987 at the cost of approximately AUS $94 million, however, it has undergone several expansions and refurbishments since. After completion of the construction in 1987, the Park included a15.000 seat Centre court with a retractable roof (renamed to Rod Laver Arena in 2000, after a three-time winner of the Australian Open and one of world's greatest tennis players), match court 1 with a seating capacity of 6.000 (renamed to Margaret Court Arena in 2004, after famous Australian tennis player Margaret Smith Court, who won more Grand Slam titles than any other player in history, male or female), match court 2 seating 3.000 spectators, 13 outside match courts, 5 indoor practice courts, public concourse, public transport infrastructure and car parking facilities.

The first major expansion of the Park took place before the 1996 Australian Open at a cost of AUS $23 million. It more-less doubled the size of Melbourne Park as two new show courts with a seating-capacity of 3000 and 800 respectively, a funcion centre with seating capacity of 1.800, Garden Square for public, as well as 8 new match courts were added to the Park’s facilities. In 1996, the Park also changed its name to its current version from the previous name National Tennis Centre at Flinders Park .The change of the name was initiated by the, at the time, Victoria’s Premier Jeff Kennett to advertise the name “Melbourne” to a wider international audience.

In 2000, the Hisense Arena (formerly called Multi-Purpose Venue and Vodafone Arena) with seating capacity of 10.500, retractable roof and 13.100 sqatre metre commercial area, was opened at the Melbourne Park. The name of the arena is based on Chinese multinational white goods and electronics manufacturer and it is a part of a multi-million dolar sponzorship deal. The Hisense Arena is the Park’s second largest court.

Currently, the Melbourne Park consists of 34 outdoor courts (inluding show courts), out of which 26 outdoor courts and 12 indoor courts are featured with plexicushion surface and 8 courts are featured with Italian clay. Besides tennis, the Park hosts a number of other sports and musical events throughout the year.

The Park is currently undergoing another major AUS $363 million redevelopment that should be concluded before the 2015 Australian Open. The redevelopment plans include an extension to the south west of the external concourse surrounding Rod Laver Arena, including upgrades to the services and landscaping, improved connections between Rod Laver Arena, the Oval and Hisense Arena, the addition of rainwater harvesting and treatment facilities, a major upgrade to fully enclose Margaret Court Arena, including the installation of a retractable roof and additional seating to increase crowd capacity to 7,500, a new Eastern Plaza, incorporating eight new indoor courts and 13 outdoor courts for elite training and general public use as well as change room facilities and a gymnasium, refurbishments to Rod Laver Arena and Hisense Arena, additional parking and a footbridge linking Melbourne Park to the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.

2015 Australian Open Men’s singles tournament Format and Participants

The 2015 Australian Open tournament comprises five main events (Men’s’ singles, Ladies’ singles, Men’s doubles, Women’s doubles and Mixed doubles), four junior events (boys and girls singles and doubles), six wheelchair events (Men’s and Ladies’ singles and doubles, quad singles and doubles), two events for tennis legends (Men’s and Ladies’ doubles) and the tournament’s qualification.

In the Men’s singles tournament, 128 players compete for the Norman Brooks Challenge Cup – the trophy for the winner of the Australian Open Men’s singles tournament. Majority (104) of the players advance to the tournament based on their current international ranking, eight players are awarded a wild card and 16 players are added to the main draw after passing the qualifying stage (which begins prior to the main tournament and consists of 3 rounds; qualified players must win all 3 of them). Of the eight wild cards, four are allocated per draw - one to Asia, one each to the USA and France in reciprocal agreements, and one to the winner of the Wildcard Play-off. The other four cards are discretionary and decided on by set criteria focusing on players aged under 23 in line with Tennis Australia's youth policy. After completing the list of 128 players, a draw will determine which players will meet each other in the first round. Seeded players have a preferential position in the draw and there are 32 seeds in the main draw.

After the main draw, the Men’s singles tournament is divided into 4 rounds, quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals. Men’s Singles and Men’s Doubles matches are played to the best of five sets; matches in all other events are played to the best of three sets. A tiebreak game is played at 6 games all, except in the fifth (in case of best of five sets) or in the third (best of three sets) set, when a two-games difference must be achieved.

Schedule of the 2015 Australian Open

Date

Session

START TIME

Provisional Feature Matches

Rod Laver Arena

Hisense Arena

Outside courts

Mon

19

Day

11.00am

11.00am

11.00am

1st singles round

Night

7.00 pm

   

Tue

20

Day

11.00am

11.00am

11.00am

1st singles round

Night

7.00 pm

   

Wed

21

Day

11.00am

11.00am

11.00am

2nd singles round

Night

7.00 pm

   

Thu

22

Day

11.00am

11.00am

11.00am

2nd singles round

Night

7.00 pm

   

Fri

23

Day

11.00am

11.00am

11.00am

3rd singles round

Night

7.00 pm

7.00 pm

 

Sat

24

Day

11.00am

11.00am

11.00am

3rd singles round

Night

7.00 pm

7.00 pm

 

Sun

25

Day

11.00am

11am

11.00am

4th singles round

Night

7.00 pm

   

Mon

26

Day

11.00am

11am

11.00am

4th singles round

Night

7.30 pm

   

Tue

27

Day

11.00am

no play

11.00am

Quarterfinal Singles

Night

7.30 pm

   

Wed

28

Day

11.00am

no play

11.00am

Quarterfinal Singles

Night

7.30 pm

   

Thu

29

Day

11.00am

(Match TBA)

11.00am

(Match TBA)

not before 1.30pm

   

2 x Women’s Singles Semi-final

Night

7.30pm

   

1 x Men’s Singles Semi-final

Fri

30

Twilight / Night

3.00pm

no play

3.00pm

Mixed Doubles Semi-final

followed by

   

Women’s Doubles Final

not before 7.30pm

   

1 x Men’s Singles Semi-final

Sat

31

Night

7.30pm

   

Women’s Singles Final

followed by

   

Men's Doubles Final

Sun

Feb 1

Twilight / Night

4.30pm

no play

no play

Mixed Doubles Final

7.30pm

   

Men’s Singles Final

2015 Australian Open price money, trophies and points

The two main trophies to be won at the Australian Open are the Norman Brooks Challenge Cup awarded to the Men’s singles champion and the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup for the winner of the Ladies’ singles. The first mentioned trophy is named after Norman Brook, a former Australian World No. 1 tennis player and the first president of the Lawn Tennis Association of Australia. The diameter of the Cup is 25.7 cm and its height is 28 cm. It stands on a 15.5 cm plinth and it’s made of silver. The trophy is modelled after a piece of ancient Roman marble sculpture known as the Warwick Vase. It is one of the more outlandish designs ever conceived, featuring large figures along its surface.

The Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup was donated by the NSW Tennis Association in memory of Daphne Akhurst, famous and successful Australian tennis player born in Ashfield, NSW in 1903, who died tragically only at the age of 29. Akhurst won the Australian title in 1925 and 1926 and then in three consecutive years from 1929 to 1930.

In 2013, the Australian Open participants played for AUS $33 million, 2,65 million out of which was awarded to the winner of the Men’s and Ladies’ singles tournament and 1,325 million to its runner up. The price money for the 2015 tournament has not yet been announced, but an increase compare to 2014 tournament is expected. In parallel with the trophy and price money, the winner of the Australian open (men’s or woman’s singles) is awarded 2000 ATP and the same number of WTA ranking points, the runner up 1200 ATP and 1400 WTA points.

Brief history of the Australian Open

The Australian Open dates back to the start of the 20th century, first played in 1905, at Warehouseman's Cricket Ground in St Kilda Road, Melbourne (currently known as the Albert Reserve Tennis Centre). Originally, the event was known as ‘The Australasian Championships’, which was changed to ‘The Australian Championships’ in 1927, and another change in name occurred in the year 1969, when it was renamed to ‘Australian Open’, as it is known today. Until today, the Australian Open has been organized in five Australian and two New Zealand cities. Most of the times the event was organized at Melbourne, the other cities that staged the tournament were Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Christchurch and Hastings. It was only in 1972 that the National Tennis Body decided to give the Australian Open a permanent home. Melbourne was chosen as the preferred destination, as it had given the most support to the tournament over the years. The tournament was afterwards played at the Kooyong club from 1972 until the move to the Melbourne Park in 1988, when also the surface of the tournament changed from grass to hard-court.

Due to the distant geographic location of Australia, very few foreign players entered the tournament in the early 20th century. First foreign tennis players taking part in a tennis tournament in Australia were the U.S. Davys Cup players who came by aircraft. In fact, initially, even domestic players couldn’t all participate in the tournament, due to absence of inter-city transport facilities. The dates of Australian Open fluctuated in the early years of the tournament. In 1919, it took place in January, but in 1920, the event was shifted to March. In 1923, the tournament was conducted in August. Afterwards, the Australian Open was held in January every year, until 1977, when it was shifted to December, which is the reason for two Australian Opens being held in 1977. In 1987, the tournament was moved back to January, the reason for Australian Open being played in 1986. 

In 1969, the Australian Open was open to all players, including professionals who were not allowed to play the traditional circuit. Nevertheless, except for the 1969 and 1971 tournaments, many of the best players missed the tournament until 1982, because of the inaccessibility, the inconvenient dates (around Christmas and New Year's Day), and the low prize money. Despite these drawbacks, the tournament has eventually become one of the most popular of the Grand Slams.

The most successful Men’s singles player in the “amateur” era of the tournament is Roy Emerson, who has won the tournament six times, followed by Jack Crawford with four titles. The most successful men’s players of the Australian Open’s open era are Andre Agassi, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, who have each won the tournament four times. Regarding ladies’ singles, the most successful player in tournament’s open era is Serena Williams with 5 titles, Margaret Smith Court, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Steffi Graff and Monika Seles have won the tournament four times each. However, Margaret Smith Court has also won the tournament additional seven times in its amateur era, thus she is the overall most successful participant of the tournament.


Source of illustration picture: Maxisport - Fotolia.com

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