The Australian Open tennis tournament is held in Melbourne, Australia every year in January. Learn all about the highlights and history of this great tennis tournament. 

Locals and visitors to Melbourne alike enjoy the two weeks of tennis that make up the Australian Open each year in January. The competition is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments – the others are the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open. 

There are a range of matches played as part of the tournament including women’s and men’s singles; women’s and men’s and mixed doubles, wheelchair events in the same categories, Junior Championships and exhibition and legends matches.

History of the Australian Open

The tournament is held annually in Melbourne each January and is played on hard courts.  The tournament was originally held on grass courts, but it switched to hard courts in 1988. Because it is held during Melbourne’s summer it often challenges players with the hot and unpredictable weather. However, this often creates exciting and challenging matches.

The Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club hosted the Tennis Australian Open in Melbourne from 1972 until 1988. The tournament then moved to the new (at the time) Melbourne Park venue, where it is currently held today. Melbourne Park is part of the Melbourne Sports and Entertainment Precinct which includes the MCG, sporting fields and arenas and stadiums. 

When the tournament first moved to Melbourne Park there was a 90% increase in spectator numbers. Today the tournament attracts around 900,000 attendees over the course of three weeks. 

Visiting Melbourne for the Australian Open 

The Australian Open is also known for its strong fan base and large attendance each year. But it’s not just Australians who like to come and watch. The tournament attracts fans from all over the world and has a reputation as being one of the most exciting and entertaining tennis tournaments of the year. 

If you want to watch the Australian Open in future years, but cannot plan a visit to Melbourne – don’t worry – you can tune in online. The tennis tournament actually has a very strong online presence, with many fans tuning in to watch the matches via online streaming.

Player Records at the Australian Open 

The Australian Open attracts some of the best tennis players in the world, including the top-ranked players in both the men’s and women’s games. As the first Grand Slam of the year, it also often produces upsets and surprises, with many lower-ranked players making it through to the later rounds. 

However, the tournament has been dominated by some of the all-time best tennis players. The most successful male player in the tournament’s history is Novak Djokovic, who has won the tournament ten times. Of the female players, Margaret Court holds the record for the most Australian Open titles with 11 to her name.

What else to do when visiting Melbourne 

Tour the MCG

The Melbourne Cricket Ground (as known as the MCG) is a 100,000 capacity stadium – the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. The stadium hosts cricket matches, AFL (Australian Football League) games and music concerts year round. You can take a tour, starting at the Melbourne Sports Museum.

Royal Botanical Gardens

The Melbourne’s Royal Botanical Gardens border the Yarra River and have more than 50,000 plants and 8,500 different species. Discover the Aboriginal Heritage Walk – which you can visit as a self-guided experience or with an Aboriginal guide – to learn about Australia’s Indigenous culture.

Explore Melbourne’s Laneways

Melbourne’s laneways have some of the best cafes, bars, and boutique shops. Many of them are Melbourne institutions that have stood the test of time.

Shop in the Bourke Street Mall 

Melbourne’s most iconic shopping strip is the Bourke Street Mall, home to Australian department stores Myer and David Jones. Also visit the nearby Royal Arcade or the Block Arcade – both designed in the style of European shopping arcades. 

Discover Street Art

There is so much street art in Melbourne – from large murals on city buildings to less-permanent chalk drawings on the sidewalk. In particular, AC/DC Lane, Meyers Place, Blender Lane and Union Lane are some of the best art-filled laneways.

Visit Federation Square’s Museums and Galleries

Visit some great museums and galleries within Fed Square, such as the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI). Or Ian Potter Centre for Australian art, or the Koorie Heritage Centre to discover Indigenous culture and history. 

A visit to Melbourne should also include a day trip to discover the best destinations in the state of Victoria – here are the tours we recommend taking while you are here!

Great Ocean Road Sunset Tour 

This tour departs Melbourne later than other Great Ocean Road tours, so you won’t see the crowds throughout the whole day. View surf beaches, the Memorial Arch, koalas in the wild and the coastal town of Apollo Bay. Plus, explore the incredible Loch Ard Gorge, Gibson Steps (if time allows) and then the 12 Apostles for the grand finale at sunset

Phillip Island Penguin Parade Tour 

Phillip Island is home to tens of thousands of Little Penguins. Get up close to these incredible birds as they return from the ocean each evening at the Penguin Parade. You can also meet other Australian animals like kangaroos and koalas at Moonlit Sanctuary, and visit the colourful Brighton Bathing Boxes.

Yarra Valley Gourmet Tour

Wine is only half the story of this gourmet wonderland. Our tour provides a perfect blend of the region’s wines and gourmet produce. Indulge in wine tastings and a gourmet lunch at three separate wineries. Plus sampling of cheeses, chocolates, fruit juices and more on this gourmet tour.

Grampians National Park Tour 

Join our Grampians day tour to venture along walking trails to canyons, waterfalls and scenic views of forests and valleys. Spot wildlife such as kangaroos and birds and take spectacular photos at the panoramic lookout points. The Grampians are a nature-lovers paradise waiting to be explored. 


Written by: Leah Furey – Digital Content Coordinator