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Walk down the ‘Melbourne Park’
Updated on Saturday, January 17, 2009, 00:00
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The Australian Open is the first major tennis tournament of the year and is held in January. Tennis connoisseurs the world over kick-start their year with this tournament and it has always set the pace for a thrilling year of tennis. It is held in the Melbourne Park and history dates this tournament to 1905, the year when it was first played.

The period of 60’s and 70’s saw the event in troubled waters and was revived in 1988 to generate greater interest. It follows the pattern of all major Grand Slams as there are men`s and women`s singles competitions, men`s, women`s, and mixed doubles, as well as junior and master`s competitions.

The first major came through came in the year 1988 when the tournament was played at ‘Flinders Park’. The same Flinders Park was renamed as ‘Melbourne Park’.

Managed by Tennis Australia, it celebrated its centenary in 2005 and this is the 96th year of the grand event. The present location at Melbourne Park was built to accommodate the growing fan following of the game. The early years of Australian Open saw a lesser number of foreign players due to slow transportation facilities of those times.

The schedule for Australian Open has not changed since 1987 and it as been held in the month of January.

Arenas

There are two major arenas Rod Laver arena and Vodafone Arena. This is the only grand slam which is a complete indoor tournament. The success of event in 1988 was attributed to Rod Laver, Ivan Landel, John McEnroe and Mats Wilnader.

Australian Open with its unique blend of ‘Plexicushion’ (soil used for preparing the playing arena) is actual test of player’s calibre and class.

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