Held each year during the last two weeks of January at Melbourne Park, the Australian Open tennis tournament is one of four annual Grand Slam tennis events. Played ahead of the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, it's a magnet for some of the world’s best players, with a multi-million prize pool.
Since 1988, matches have taken place on two kinds of artificial hardcourt surface, rather than the grass courts used in earlier tournaments.
First held in 1905, when it was known as the Australasian Championships, the Australian Open tennis tournament is managed by Tennis Australia. It has become the southern hemisphere’s biggest yearly sporting occasion, with more than 780,000 attending the 2019 event. The tournament is also widely broadcast on TV globally, although the BBC dropped its live coverage in 2016.
It was the first Grand Slam competition that could be played indoors in extreme heat or wet weather, with three main courts fitted with retractable roofs.
In 2020, the event takes place from January 20 until February 2, the day of the men’s singles final. The draw is finalised near the start of the tournament, and it’s arranged so that the top two seeds can’t meet until the final.
Australian Open Tennis Tournament format
This is pretty straightforward in the Aussie Open, with the following contests:
- Men and women’s singles
- Women’s men’s and mixed doubles
- Juniors’ championships
- Wheelchair contests
- Exhibition and ‘legend’ events
There are 128 players in each of the men’s and women’s singles events, with 32 seeds, based on international rankings. No player gets a first-round bye or automatic advancement to the next round.
So in all, more than 250 of the world’s top-ranked tennis pros take part in the Aussie Open.
Men play the best of five sets, women, the best of three, in keeping with all Grand Slams. After the qualifying games, there are four initial rounds ahead of the quarter, semi and tournament finals.
In 2018, organisers followed the US Open and Wimbledon in introducing tie-breaks in the final sets of all singles matches. At six games all, the first player to 10 points in the tie-breaker wins.
Australian Open Tennis Tournament: did you know?
- It was not chosen as a major championship until 1924
- The first Open was played in 1905, in Melbourne
- More international players started to win after the 1970s when travel to Australia from America and Europe became easier
- It has been held in Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth as well as Melbourne, and even in two New Zealand cities, Hastings and Christchurch
- It moved to the Melbourne Park complex, its current home, in 1988
- In 2019, the men’s champion was Serbian Novak Djokovic, while in the women’s tournament Japan’s Naomi Osaka triumphed
- Over the years, it’s earned the nicknames ‘the happy slam’ and the Grand Slam of Asia/Pacific
Betting on the Australian Open
A couple of factors set this contest apart from other Grand Slams. It’s at the start of the season, so players are less likely to be affected by fitness doubts or injury, and they’ve just had a month or two’s rest.
Additionally, the extreme heat Down Under is something else to take into account, despite those retractable roofs.
Equally, a player who has done well on grass or clay may not necessarily be as successful on the hard-court surface at Melbourne Park.
Be aware of players’ records on this surface – and against each other if betting head-to-head.
In the men’s game, in particular, elite names do well. Between 2014 and 2019, of the 73 finished matches from the fourth round onwards, just over 60 were won by the favourite. While only 11 victories belonged to the underdog.
Meanwhile, the women’s matches can be rather more unpredictable – although every winner in the 10 years from 2010 has enjoyed a top-10 ranking.
Australian Open betting markets
There are many ways of having a flutter on this elite sporting event. Here are some of the most popular markets:
- Head-to-head: A fixed-odds bet, on offer on every Australian Open tennis tournament match
- Game handicap: A regular handicap bet, worked out on the total number of games each player has won by the end of the match. A player is given a starting advantage to eliminate a filed head-start. You can also place a bet on whether the opponent will rise above their handicap disadvantage and win the match.
- Futures: This is a straightforward punt on the overall winner of the men’s or women’s competition
- Outright: This is just the odds for a player to win a tournament, and is probably one of the best and easiest markets for a novice punter
It may be chilly winter in the northern hemisphere, but Down Under they’re basking in the summer sunshine. Cheer up dark January with a bet on the thrilling Australian Open tennis tournament, with a bet from one of our reputable online bookies. And enjoy a sport that, as one of the greats, Billie Jean King, put so well:
Is a perfect combination of violent action taking place in an atmosphere of total tranquillity.