The Australian Open is a tennis tournament held annually over the last fortnight of January in Melbourne, Australia. First held in 1905, the tournament is chronologically the first of the four Grand Slam tennis events of the year – the other three being the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. It features men’s and women’s singles; men’s, women’s and mixed doubles and junior’s championships; as well as wheelchair, legends and exhibition events. Prior to 1988 it had been played on grass courts, but since then two types of hardcourt surfaces have been used at Melbourne Park – green coloured Rebound Ace up to 2007 and, afterwards, blue Plexicushion.
The Australian Open is the largest annual sporting event in the Southern Hemisphere. The tournament holds the record for the highest attendance at a Grand Slam event, with 743,667 people attending the 2018 Australian Open. It was also the first Grand Slam tournament to feature indoor play during wet weather or extreme heat with its three primary courts, the Rod Laver Arena, Hisense Arena and the refurbished Margaret Court Arena equipped with retractable roofs.
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The French Open (French: Championnats Internationaux de France de Tennis), also called Roland-Garros, is a major tennis tournament held over two weeks between late May and early June at the Stade Roland-Garros in Paris, France. The venue is named after the French aviator Roland Garros. It is the premier clay court tennis championship event in the world and the second of four annual Grand Slam tournaments, the other three being the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. The French Open is currently the only Grand Slam event held on clay, and it is the zenith of the spring clay court season. Because of the seven rounds needed for a championship, the slow-playing surface and the best-of-five-set men’s singles matches (without a tiebreak in the final set), the event is widely considered to be the most physically demanding tennis tournament in the world.
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The Championships, Wimbledon, commonly known simply as Wimbledon, is the oldest tennis tournament in the world, and is widely regarded as the most prestigious. It has been held at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London, since 1877 and is played on outdoor grass courts.
Wimbledon is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, the others being the Australian Open, the French Open and the US Open. Since the Australian Open shifted to hardcourt in 1988, Wimbledon is the only major still played on grass.
The tournament traditionally took place over two weeks in late June and early July, starting on the third Monday in June and culminating with the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Singles Finals, scheduled for the Saturday and Sunday at the end of the second week. However recent changes to the tennis calendar have seen the event moved back by two weeks cumulatively to begin in early July. Five major events are held each year, with additional junior and invitational competitions also taking place.
Wimbledon traditions include a strict dress code for competitors and Royal patronage. Strawberries and cream is traditionally consumed at the tournament. In 2017, fans consumed 34,000 kg of English strawberries and 10,000 litres of cream. The tournament is also notable for the absence of sponsor advertising around the courts. In 2009, Wimbledon’s Centre Court was fitted with a retractable roof to lessen the loss of playing time due to rain.
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The United States Open Tennis Championships is a hard court tennis tournament. The tournament is the modern version of one of the oldest tennis championships in the world, the U.S. National Championship, for which men’s singles was first played in 1881. Since 1987, the US Open has been chronologically the fourth and final tennis major comprising the Grand Slam each year; the other three, in chronological order, are the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon.
The US Open is held annually, starting on the last Monday in August, and lasting for two weeks into September, with the middle weekend coinciding with Labor Day. The main tournament consists of five event championships: men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, and mixed doubles, with additional tournaments for senior, junior, and wheelchair players of tennis. Since 1978, the tournament has been played on acrylic hard courts at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, Queens, New York City. The US Open is owned and organized by the United States Tennis Association(USTA), a non-profit organization, and the current Chairperson of the US Open is Katrina Adams. Revenue from ticket sales, sponsorships, and television deals are used to promote the development of tennis in the United States.
The US Open is the only Grand Slam that employs tiebreakers in every set of a match. For the other three Grand Slam events, if a match goes to the last possible set (the third for women, fifth for men) and there is a 6–6 tie, the match continues until one player wins by two games, but the sets played before the last set always employ tiebreakers should a set reach 6–6. It is also the only Grand Slam where the women’s draw has 16 qualifiers, not 12.
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