History of the Australian Open

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by johnny ballgame, Jul 10, 2007.

  1. johnny ballgame

    johnny ballgame Professional

    Jan 5, 2007
    Mac's comments during Wimbledon regarding the Australian Open were quite interesting. I realized he skipped it some, didn't realize to such a great extent.

    I wish somene could summarize the history and how the importance of the tourney evolved. For example:

    In the 70's and 80's, exactly which top names skipped, and which ones played? When did everyone start showing up, like it is today?

    When was it played at Christmas time, and when was that changed? History of the surfaces, when did it switch from grass to hard? When did rebound ace come about? Any other interesting info?


    PS - Mac would have won a lot more slams if he played there every year!! Maybe even the G.O.A.T? ;)
  2. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

    Dec 27, 2005
    Borg didn't play the AO from '74-'81(a time in which he won 11 majors)

    Connors didn't play the AO from '76-'83(a time in which he won 5 majors)

    Mac only played the AO once from '79-'84(a time in which he won 7 majors)

    The AO was held in December from '76 to '85. So was the Davis Cup final. Mac was in the DC final in '81,'82,'84. Davis Cup meant more to him, so he skipped Australia those years. The US did win the Cup in '81,'82 by the way(with Mac playing singles & doubles) Mac did play Australia in '83, a year in which the US didn't make the final.
    Interesting the contrast today, Fed skips Davis Cup so he can concentrate on the majors, while Mac did the reverse.

    Plus the year end Masters was in January, a very big event at the time. Along with some other important events also that month. Scheduling hurt the AO.

    AO wasn't 128 player draw or on Rebound Ace until 1988, you can find much of this info at atptennis.com

    I'm surprised you weren't aware of this, since you said you followed the game for 25 years or so in another thread.

    The same applies for Borg & Connors. All 3 played less majors per year during their peak years than any other all-time greats of the last 30 years(French wasn't always attracting all the top players either in those days)
    With all 3 in their primes at the same time, its hard to say who would have won what had they played more slams. Using total majors won in judging these players seems incredibly unfair.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2007
  3. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

    Mar 8, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    I wish people would stop doing this. It's really not hard to familiarize oneself about the game with the breadth of information on the Internet, specifically Wikipedia - I'm not even talking about truly in-depth stuff that you can find about the game.

    The very basics are out there and most people here don't even know that much. The Agassi/McEnroe thread is sad for that very reason.
  4. superstition

    superstition Hall of Fame

    Sep 20, 2006
    During Tilden's era, Americans didn't feel Wimbledon was as important as one or two other tournaments that aren't called slams today. I know Tilden didn't play Wimbledon, in favor of another tournament, one or more times.
  5. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

    Apr 22, 2005
    In Tilden's mind, the challenge system was still intact. When he had won Wimbledon twice (plus the Wold Hard (clay) court champs at St. Cloud) in 1921, he felt, that the challengers should come to the US, to dethrone him - at his own champs or/and in the Davis Cup. When he lost the US champs to the Musketeers in 1926, he came to Europe again, now himself as the challenger.
  6. johnny ballgame

    johnny ballgame Professional

    Jan 5, 2007
    Thanks for all the info. I'm 33 yrs old. Some of my earliest memories of sports are the Borg-Mac matches of 1980 and 1981. So, while I was "following" tennis back then, I was only 6 or 7 yrs old. So my memory is little hazy. Of course it wouldn't help that the Australian was not a high-profile event in the U.S. back then. I hope that explains it.
  7. brc444

    brc444 New User

    Apr 26, 2007
    I'm not sure it's really unfair. After all, shouldn't there be consequences for short sighted career decsions like skipping the AO year after year in your prime.
  8. robin7

    robin7 Hall of Fame

    Jun 25, 2007
    If not mistaken, Pete Sampras also skipped DC to concentrate on his Grand Slams.

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