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10 Classic Australian Open Stories

The 2022 Australian Open has finally begun after the seemingly never-ending controversy surrounding Novak Djokovic’s visa died down – for now. Tennis fans will now be able to concentrate on watching some of the biggest stars in the sport go against each other over the next two weeks.

With Djokovic’s departure, the Australian Open betting markets will have been seeing some serious action. But that is always the case with this tournament – one that always manages to capture the imagination of tennis fans at the beginning of each year. Here are some of the most famous stories from the history of the competition.

The Open has Moved Around

The Australian Open has seen some classic performances over the years. Most tennis fans look forward to Melbourne hosting the first Grand Slam event of the year. But that hasn’t always been the case. In fact, it is only since 1972 that the city has been the base for the Australian Open – and only at Melbourne Park since 1988.

The decision to keep the Australian Open in Melbourne was made after Tennis Australia realized that attendances were much higher there than at any other location. The Open had previously been staged in Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth – as well as twice in New Zealand, in 1906 and 1912.

An Unseeded Serena Williams Wins in 2007

Only three unseeded players have ever won the Australian Open in its history – with Serena Williams being the most well known. The American tennis legend beat Maria Sharapova in straight sets in 2007 to claim her third Australian Open singles title and complete a remarkable comeback.

Williams had slipped out of the top 100 only a year or two earlier after battling with injuries and other off-court issues. She came into the 2007 tournament ranked only 81st in the world but played some incredible tennis to reach the final after dropping only two sets in the competition. She steamrolled past the then number one Sharapova in the final to show the spirit of a true champion.

Figure 2 Rafa Nadal was involved in one of the greatest matches in tournament history

Nearly Six Hours of Tennis

Novak Djokovic may not be competing at this year’s Australian Open, but he was involved in one of the most grueling finals of all time in 2012 when he beat Rafael Nadal to claim the title. It took five hours and fifty-three minutes to win the match – and the players were so exhausted that they were given chairs to sit in through the awards ceremony.

The match began on Sunday evening and finally finished at 1.37am Melbourne time, with Djokovic the victor at 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5. The Serbian number one was 4-2 in the final set down and looked out of it after he lost a 32-shot rally in the ninth game. But, incredibly, he came back to win one of the most amazing matches ever in Australian Open history.

Hometown Hero

Up until 1976 Australian men had dominated the singles competition at the Australian Open. But the eventual winner that year was not expected to keep up that particular tradition. Mark Edmondson was unseeded, ranked 212 in the world, and had still been working part time in a hospital only the week before.

Edmondson ended up beating fellow Aussie and defending champion John Newcombe in the final. But that was the last time that an Australian won the men’s singles tournament. Edmondson never won another grand slam event ever again either – the semifinal of Wimbledon in 1982 being his next best achievement.

Federer Domination

There were many times during his career that it seemed that Roger Federer would never lose a match again. But in 2007 that seemed to be even more the case. He came into the Australian Open on a 45-match winning streak and had won six of the last seven grand slam singles titles.

Federer didn’t drop a single set as he marched to the title, beating an emerging Novak Djokovic on the way. He dominated Andy Roddick in the semifinal, winning 11 straight games at one point. He won the title again ten years later to prove that he is one of the best tennis players of all time.

There were two players in the Australian Open final: Yannick Noah and Tom Okker. Yannick won his first round match, but lost the last five sets to end up as the runner-up.
He was one of the more famous players to ever play in the Australian Open – and he was also one of the most famous players in history not to win a major title.
You can tell this is an Australian Open story because there are two men in it; he is also Australian, and both of them have a $1 million prize on the line.
The other player is Dutchman Tom Okker, who played for Spain against Genaro Armenteros to become a four time winner of this tournament.
But it’s not just a story about them; it’s also about their sport, which is tennis. And this story tells us something about Australia too:  it is a nation of people who love and play tennis (and are able to make do without other sports).
It’s a nation that embraces sport as part of its identity (instead of being ashamed of it), where sport is seen as part of everyday life (instead of being seen as an extra-curricular activity), where Australians are enthusiastic participants in the game (instead of spectators) and where there are many active sporting communities around our country (instead of one or two clubs that draw thousands to their matches).
And finally, and most importantly, it’s a nation with some great stories, which are full of all kinds of people in all sorts of situations who find themselves travelling alone or with friends through Australia on holiday, staying at some great hostels or hotels or resorts during their trip there – finding themselves enjoying some great meals at some great restaurants – playing some great sports like tennis – finding themselves getting wet at sea – meeting some wonderful people from around the world!  This story makes us proud to call Australia home!