The holidays are over. And the bests of world’s tennis are already headed Down Under to play at the much awaited and the first Grand Slam tennis event of the year. Australian Open is now arguably the largest annual sporting event in the Southern Hemisphere. Host city Melbourne always saves its best for the Australian Open, with an array of art, culture and music adding to the atmosphere. The tournament also does hold the record for the highest attendance at a Grand Slam event, with 743,667 people attending the 2018 edition.
The Australian Open was first held in 1905. It is the youngest of all the four Grand Slams, the oldest being Wimbledon (1877) followed by US Open (1881) and French Open (1891). Interestingly, when it was first held, the very first game was played in a cricket field at the Warehouseman’s Cricket Ground. Since its inception, the Australian Open has been staged in five Australian and two New Zealand cities.
Due to the remote location of Australia in the context of many international players, very few foreign players entered this tournament in the early 20th century. In the 1920s, the trip by ship from Europe to Australia took about 45 days.
Initially, the Australian Open was played on grass. Starting 1988, the surface shifted from grass to hard courts. Mats Wilander holds the record for being the only player to win the title on both grass and hard court.
January is actually the summer time in Australia. The mercury can rise up to 45 degree Celsius which is well above 100 degrees in Fahrenheit. The blazing conditions pose challenge to players. They feel like playing tennis in a sauna or on a frying pan that sizzle their soles. They are forced to make use of braided ice towels. Many players have to be put on intravenous drips in order to cope up with the hot weather conditions. Extreme temperatures also cause the tennis balls to shrink and expand and behave differently. From 1988, Extreme Heat Policy or EHP came into effect wherein the match can be halted upon the referee’s decision if the temperature crosses the threshold barrier.
Australian Open is the first Grand Slam tournament to feature indoor play during wet weather or extreme heat with its three primary courts, including Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne Arena and the refurbished Margaret Court Arena equipped with retractable roofs.
The Australian Open has its fair share of hiccups over its existence. The tournament was played in January till 1919 and shifted to March in 1920. It again changed to August during 1923-1976. In a curious case, when changing from a January event to a December event, two tournaments were held in 1977; the first in January, the second in December. In 1987, the tournament moved back to January, so no championship was decided in 1986.
While Djokovic holds the joint record for the most Australian Open wins, Andy Murray isn’t far behind hi, in finals. Murray has reached the final at Melbourne Park an amazing five times, but has yet to win the thing! Of his five defeats in the finals, four have been against Djoko. Will it be different for Muzzard at possibly his swansong at AO2019?
Welcome to the another bout of bits and bats. Welcome to ‘Nutty’s Infotainment. YAYS!’. And your time starts NOW!
Name the youngest and the oldest winner of the Men’s single title at the Australian Open.
Ken Rosewall and Ken Rosewall. Yes, you read that right. It is the same person!
Roy Emerson, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer hold the record for the most men’s singles titles with Emerson winning the event six times in the Amateur Era and Federer and Djokovic taking the same number of titles in the Open Era. Who overshadows their records in women’s with a record-breaking eleven singles titles?
Margaret Court. She is also credited with the longest consecutive singles win streak with seven victories (1960-66).
The longest Grand Slam final ever played happened at the 2012 Australian Open. Name the two players engaged in the epic battle lasting 5 hours and 53 minutes.
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, at the time ranked the number 1 and 2 player in the world, respectively. In the final, Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal 5–7, 6–4, 6–2, 6–7(5–7), 7–5 to win the tournament.
Which is the only Grand Slam to be played in two different countries?
Martina Navratilova pulled off a remarkable double in 2003 when she won both the Australian Open and Wimbledon mixed doubles, aged 46, playing alongside an Indian tennis player. Name him.
Leander Paes. Considered to be one of the best doubles and mixed doubles players of all time, he has achieved a career Grand Slam in both disciplines.
What was “Soybean Car” which was unveiled by Henry Ford on August 13, 1941 and patented by him on this day (January 13) in 1942?
It was a prototype car built with agricultural plastic. The car body and fenders were made from a strong material derived from soy beans, wheat and corn. The body was lighter and therefore more fuel efficient than a normal metal body.
What is a group of frogs called?
Which actress said, “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night,” in All About Eve?
Bette Davis as Margo Channing.
If you were painting with tempera, what would you be using to bind together colour pigments?
Identify the company from the image below?
(Answer next week. Answer to last week’s photo-quiz: Backgammon.)
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