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Australian Open Tennis Index
Largest annual sporting event in the Southern Hemisphere: The Australian Open.
Number of players in the men’s singles field at the inaugural edition of the Australian (then called Australasian) Championships played on grass courts in Melbourne at Warehouseman’s Cricket Ground in November 1905: 17.
Let’s look back at the leading players, matches, issues and trends and see if you agree with how I saw the “Bests” and “Worsts” of vintage 2012.
Rod Laver, the Australian champion in 1960, 1962 and 1969, called naming of Melbourne Park’s centre court Rod Laver Arena, "The crowning moment of my career."
Year that the International Lawn Tennis Federation (ILTF) recognized the Australasian Championships on an equal basis as those of the United States, England (Wimbledon) and France: 1923.
What chair umpire Steve Ulrich blurted out after Roger Federer hit a phenomenal shot against Evgeny Korolev in the 2009 Australian Open second round: “We’re all still amazed!”
What two-time Grand Slammer Rod Laver, the Australian champion in 1960, 1962 and 1969, called “the crowning moment of my career”: The naming of Melbourne Park’s centre court Rod Laver Arena.
Number of times that Margaret Smith Court, who won a record 11 Australian Open women’s singles titles, won the Australian Junior Championships: 0.
Australian star John Bromwich was criticized in 1946 for wearing short pants. They said it was indecent.
Group that criticized Australian star John Bromwich in 1946, when he won the Australian singles and doubles titles, because he gave up long trousers and started wearing shorts: Clergymen who said “it was indecent.”
How much money rival countries like Germany or Japan would pay if they could buy the Australian Open “grand slam” status, according to Tennis Australia president Geoff Pollard in 1990: $1 billion.
Tennis star who, during the 2012 Australian Open, said, “I don’t love tennis today, but I’m here, and I can’t live without it ... so I’m still here and I don’t want to go anywhere any time soon”: Serena Williams.
Year and venue where the first Grand Slam title was decided indoors: Flinders Park’s retractable roof was used at the new home of the Australian Open for the 1988 women’s final in which 18-year-old Steffi Graf defeated 33-year-old Chris Evert 6-1, 7-6.
What a bettor at the 2011 Australian Open lost when he wagered on No. 1-ranked Rafael Nadal to beat David Ferrer at 1-10 odds: $1 million.
Message on a large banner hanging in front of several young men in the crowd at the 1995 Australian Open: “MARY PIERCE, are U free tonight? Please phone (054) 479 361.”
Sign seen in the crowd during the Andre Agassi-Patrick Rafter match at the 1995 Australian Open: “RAFTER IS SEX!”
John McEnroe was the first player disqualified from a Grand Slam tournament in the Open Era.
The one match in Martina Navratilova’s career she’d like to have back: The 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 upset loss to Helena Sukova in the 1984 Australian Open semifinals that ended her streaks at 74 straight singles victories and six straight Grand Slam singles titles.
First player disqualified from a Grand Slam tournament in the Open Era: John McEnroe at the 1990 Australian Open, after he intimidated a line judge, flung his racket and abused the referee.
Reason promising, 17-year-old Australian Bernard Tomic complained about playing night matches at the 2010 Australian Open: It kept him up past his bedtime.
What Australian Open officials did in 1988 when the court temperature hit 135 degrees Fahrenheit (57 degrees Celsius): They cracked and fried an egg on court on Australian national TV.
What The Netherlands’ Esther Vergeer said after she routed compatriot Aniek Van Koot 6-0, 6-0 in the 2012 Australian Open women’s wheelchair singles final for her 444th straight win: “I’ve been telling myself I can lose any day now, it’s gonna happen.”
Five-time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic called his epic Australian Open final triumph over Rafael Nadal in 2012: “Definitely the greatest match I’ve ever played.”
What five-time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic called his epic 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5 Australian Open final triumph over Rafael Nadal in 2012: “Definitely the greatest match I’ve ever played.”
How much longer the 5-hour, 53-minute Djokovic-Nadal final lasted at the 2012 Australian Open than the previous Grand Slam final record set by Mats Wilander and Ivan Lendl in the 1988 US Open final: 59 minutes.
What was extraordinary about left-handed Bert St. John, the 1923 Australian singles finalist, besides being a star cricketer and soccer player for Queensland: He was crippled by the loss of his right hand.
What Lleyton Hewitt, who lost in four sets to Russian Marat Safin in the Australian Open’s first prime-time men’s final in 2005, did later that night: He proposed to actress Rebecca Cartwright.
One of the most unusual requests the transport supervisor at the Australian Open ever received: In 1996 Barbara Becker got so nervous during one of her husband Boris’s matches that she asked to be driven to a church so she could pray for him.
What a fan rooting for African-American James Blake yelled during Blake’s 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 victory over French qualifier Sebastien De Chaunac at the 2009 Australian Open: “Win for Obama!”
Two-time Australian Open singles champion Guillermo Vilas, ironically declared, "Grass is for cows."
The most-watched sporting event in Australian television history up to that time: The Andre Agassi-Pete Sampras semifinal at the 2000 Australian Open.
Number of the 14 sets that singles champion Victoria Azarenka won at the 2012 Australian Open title in which she lost two games or less: 10.
Number of singles tournaments Mark Edmondson won in Grand Prix competition before upsetting Ken Rosewall and John Newcombe to capture the Australian Open in 1976: 0.
Total prize money at the 2012 Australian Open: $26 million.
Total prize money at the 2016 Australia Open resulting from the ATP’s recently announced landmark deal with Tennis Australia: About $41 million.
Two-time Australian Open singles champion who once ironically declared, “Grass is for cows”: Guillermo Vilas (1978−79 at Melbourne on grass).
Consecutive years when the anguished men’s singles runner-up wept at the Australian Open awards ceremonies: 2009 (Roger Federer) and 2010 (Andy Murray).
How the electronic scoreboard at the 1994 Australian Open listed Kathy Rinaldi Stunkel because of a lack of space: Kathy Rinaldi Stunk.
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Match and Tournament Preparation
Have you ever felt like in practice you were hitting the ball extremely well, yet when it came to playing in a match you found yourself pushing the ball around the court? If so, you are not alone, it happens to many of us, even at the higher levels of play. So what happened to that heavy ball you were hitting on the practice court and how do you transfer it over to match play? Touring coach, Mark Gellard has some specific ideas on the subject.
Punch the Volley?
If you have played tennis for any length of time you have no doubt heard the classic tennis instruction to “punch the volley.” As common as this instruction is, and with such a simple presentation, you might think that it is clear and useful. Unfortunately, at least without any additional instruction, it might be neither of these things, it might be meaningless, or worse, confusing. — Daryl Fisher
ProStrokes 2.0 — Julia Goerges Serve and Net Game
2012 was a break out year for Julia Goerges, the talented 24 year old German beauty, proving she can bring more to the table than than just good looks. Goerges reached a career-high WTA singles ranking of number 15 on 5 March 2012 and a doubles ranking of 21 on 22 October 2012. Julia hits big off both sides and has one of the biggest serves on tour, but if she is to climb higher in the rankings, she'll need to cut down on errors and breakthrough against the top girls. New this issue, Julia Goerges' serve and net game.
TennisOne Writers Store
One of your many new benefits as a TennisOne membership is your ability to purchase selected instructional DVDs at 20% off ($7.50 off each) in our new TennisOne Writers Store (login in first to access members links):
- "Building Your Serve from the Ground Up," Jim McLennan Members Public
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- "Achieving Peak Performance the Wholistic Way: The Mental Game," Happy Bhalla Members – Public
- "Building a World Class Serve," Phil Dent Members – Public
- "Building a World-class Volley," Dave Smith Members – Public
- "Keys to Modern Tennis Technique: One-Handed Topspin," Doug King Members Public
- "Best of Ken DeHart," Ken DeHart Members – Public
- "Corrective Techniques & Myths," Ken DeHart Members – Public
- "Defeating the Monsters in Your Mind," Ken DeHart Members – Public
- "Skills, Drills, and Games for Beginning Players," Ken DeHart Members – Public.
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