Australian Open 2015
Australian Open 2015 ~ January 19th - February 1st
Traditionally seen as the curtain raiser to the Tennis season, the Australian Open has grown from very humble beginnings into the second most popular major championships in terms of attendance behind the US Open.
The Men's title was won by Stanislas Wawrinka last year, the Aussie Open actually began back in 1905 as the Australasian Championships and was even hosted by Australia’s neighbours New Zealand in Christchurch in 1906 and Hastings in 1912.
A far cry from the modern era, where the last tournament set a record attendance level of 686,006, the early Championships failed to capture the attention of the public. Simply, the tournament’s geographic location ensured a lack of foreign competitors, particularly in the early days of travelling technology.
Indeed, despite the fact it has been designated as a major championship since 1924, the tournament only really took to life once air travel had emerged, with the first competitors to arrive by air coming in the 1946 edition of the tournament.
These days however, the Australian Open is one of the most eagerly awaited dates on the Tennis calendar, particularly by the players who use the tournament as a springboard for what they hope will be a successful year. For example, Novak Djokovic’s triumph in Melbourne in 2011 precipitated a quite astonishing season, which saw the Serb add the Wimbledon and US Open titles to his collection as well as only lose a handful of matches throughout the campaign.
Similarly, the championships also has a tendency to throw up shock results as more unfashionable players take advantage of some early-season rustiness from the bigger names. For example, Sweden’s Thomas Johansson was a surprise winner in 2002 while Arnaud Clement, Rainer Schuettler, Marcos Baghdatis and Fernando Gonzalez have all reached finals in recent years. Both winners in 2014 were unexpected as we saw the top seeds fall by the wayside. Li Na and Stan Wawrinka will be back to defend their titles in 2015.
So just who will come out on top this year?