Tennis has been popular with people of all ages in Australia since the beginning of the nineteenth century, both for fun and as an elite sport. With a climate suited to outdoor activities many Australians are keen tennis players, making year-
In Australia the sport was originally called 'lawn tennis' and the courts were surfaced with grass. Through the 1900s, sand, clay and concrete surfaces became more common, and in the twenty-
The Australasian Lawn Tennis Association (ALTA) was Australia's first national tennis body. It was formed in September 1904 and at that time was responsible for both Australia and New Zealand. With the establishment of the ALTA came the Davis Cup and the Australian Open. Australia has a long and successful tradition of Davis Cup competition, with the first Australasian Davis Cup crown won in 1907.
While the men's international team competition is known as the Davis Cup, the women's equivalent is called the Federation Cup. Television and live coverage gave tennis a boost as a spectator sport. Viewers can now follow the men's professional tour -
In Australia tennis champions are household names and their successes are celebrated by the nation. In January 2003 Lleyton Hewitt, the then number one player in the world, was named the Young Australian of the Year, while Pat Rafter (2002) and Evonne Goolagong Cawley (1971) are past winners of the Australian of the Year award.
In the twenty-
The ultimate in the career of a tennis professional is to win 'The Grand Slam' which is all four Grand Slam events in a calendar year. To date both the men's and women's singles Grand Slam titles have only been achieved three times
Australia's Rod Laver is the only professional to have achieved a Grand Slam twice, in 1962 and 1969. Margaret Smith Court won a singles Grand Slam in 1970 and also achieved a mixed doubles Grand Slam in 1963.
With a record 62 Grand Slam titles she is one of the most successful tennis players ever, and one of only three to have achieved a 'boxed set' of Grand Slam titles -
Each of the four Grand Slam events is contested on a different surface, which challenges professional players to broaden their skill base. Rather than specialising on one surface, they play on rebound ace at the Australian Open, clay at The French Open, grass at Wimbledon, and hard court at the US Open.