With the top tennis stars going head-to-head in the year’s first Grand Slam, we take a look at what makes an Australian Open champion…
More than £2.3 million … $4 million … That’s the eyewatering amount the male and female champions at this year’s Australian Tennis Open will earn.
The new year signals the start of Grand Slam tennis season, with the Australian Open serving up the first of the four major titles in 2019.
This year’s event Down Under has already become hugely significant, especially for fans of Scottish sportsman Andy Murray, who announced he plans to retire after Wimbledon but fears this tournament could be his last.
With the seed report ranking Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Zverev 1 – 4 respectively, it looks like it could be an open field when it comes to the Men’s Singles… will Federer be able to get his third consecutive win at the tournament despite Djokovic’s form?
2018 Women’s Single champion Caroline Wozniacki is in the same boat as Federer being seeded 3rd, so there’s every chance it’ll be a new name etched onto the trophies at the end of the month… But what does it take to be a champion?
With the top tennis stars going head-to-head in the year’s first Grand Slam, we delve into the data to explore where in the world Australian Open Champions are born.
Top 4 Australian Open Tennis Facts
The United States is the birthplace of 13 men’s and 13 women’s singles champions since the start of the Open era, the most of any country.
Europe collectively produces the most champion players (25) and overall championship wins (50).
The average age for becoming a champion is 25 years old.
New South Wales is Australia’s top tennis breeding ground, producing 20 men’s and women’s singles champions based on all-time tournament records.
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Which Countries Produce The Most Australian Open Tennis Champions?
The ‘Open era’, when professionals were first allowed to compete in Grand Slam events, started in 1968, with the first Australian Open under the new regime taking place in 1969.
Since then, the trophies have been reasonably equally shared between players born in the United States and Australia.
8 male players born in the USA have shared 13 titles between them, including 4 times winner Andre Agassi.
Sweden has produced 3 champions (Mats Wilander, Stefan Edberg, and Thomas Johansson) who have won 6 Opens, a trophy haul matched by Serbia (thanks to Novak Djokovic alone), Switzerland (Federer’s 5 trophies plus Wawrinka’s 1), and Australia (4 players).
It’s a closer contest comparing which country is the birthplace to most women’s Australian Open champions.
America tops the list again, five players having won 13 championships. But Australia is a close runner-up with 10 victories from four players (Margaret Court and Evonne Goolagong Cawley winning four titles each).
Serbia again features prominently on the ranking, thanks to four-time winner Monica Seles who was born in Novi Sad in the former Yugoslavia, even though the powerful left-hander did represent the USA during the latter part of her career too.
Dual-nationality is something of a theme amongst women’s winners, with three-time champion Martina Hingis born in Kosice, Slovakia, before going on to play for Switzerland. 1995 victor Mary Pierce was born in Canada but represented France.
Most famously, all-time great, Martina Navratilova, was born in Prague but played for both her native (then) Czechoslovakia and the USA during her illustrious career.
Combining men’s and women’s winners, it’s the USA on top with 27 trophies ahead of Australia (16), Serbia (10), Czech Republic (8), and Germany (7).
Although adding all the champions from the continents together, it’s Europe (25 players contributing 50 total championships) that finishes top of the tree.
Of course, the history of the Australian Open dates back to well before 1969 and the Open era. The first men’s singles championship was staged in 1905, with the inaugural women’s event in 1922.
And taking all-time records into account, it’s Australia that emerges on top with 24 men’s champions and 15 women’s, ahead of the USA (11 and 12 titles respectively) and the UK (4 men’s and 3 women’s) although Virginia Wade’s 1972 triumph is the only Open era win in Australia by a Brit.
Country Of Birth – All-Time Australian Men’s Singles Winners (since 1905)
Czech Republic, Russia & Switzerland (2)
Country Of Birth – All-Time Australian Women’s Singles Winners (since 1922)
Belgium, Czech Republic & Germany (2)
How Old Is The Average Australian Open Champion?
Does age matter Down Under? Are seasoned professionals more likely to emerge victorious, like Roger Federer last year? Or is the calendar’s curtain-raiser the perfect place for emerging talent to make their mark?
The youngest ever winner was Aussie ace Ken Rosewall who claimed the 1953 crown at the tender age of just 18 years and 2 months.
In the Open era, Swedish ace Mats Wilander was 19 and a quarter when he destroyed Ivan Lendl in straight sets in 1983.
Proving he wasn’t just a young pretender, Rosewall also holds the record for the oldest ever male winner, defying his 37 years and 4 months to take a fourth and final Aussie Open title in 1972.
Even though she was actually born in Slovakia, ‘Swiss Miss’ Martina Hingis is the youngest female player to win the championships. Her 1997 triumph, the first of three successive wins, occurred when she was just 16 years and 4 months old.
At 35 years 8 months, the 1954 winner Thelma Coyne Long is the oldest ever player to emerge victorious Down Under.
Last year’s victor Serena Williams is the oldest in the Open era… Serena’s triumph was all the more notable by the fact that she was in the early stages of pregnancy while swotting away all-comers to claim her 23rd Grand Slam title without dropping a single set!
Where Do Most Australian Tennis Aces Come From?
Prior to professionalism and the Open era, it’s no surprise to learn that home-based players usually triumphed.
Throughout the entire history of the tournament, 24 men and 15 women born in Australia have added their names to the list of winners.
All-time greats of the game such as Margaret Court, Ken Rosewall, John Newcome, and 11-times Grand Slam winner Rod Laver – who the Australian Open venue is named after – rubbing shoulders with less celebrated stars such as 1927 women’s champ Esna Boyd or Rodney Heath, the man who won the very first event in 1905.
But which particular part of Australia is tops for tennis?
New South Wales emerges as the top state for producing Australian Open champions with a terrific total of 20 tournament winners.
Taking just male players into account it’s a tie-breaker between NSW and Victoria, each with nine champions born in the state. But with women’s champions, it’s New South Wales well out in front with 11 compared to Queensland and Victoria with 2 players each.
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