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Australian Open

Australian Open
NameAustralian Open
Logo Size250px
Current2011 Australian Open|Australian Open 2011
Bar Color#F9D251
CityMelbourne, Victoria
VenueMelbourne Park
SurfacePlexicushion Prestige
Men Draw128S / 128Q / 64D
Women Draw128S / 96Q / 64D
Prize MoneyA$25,000,000 (2011)
Web Site

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The Australian Open is the least famous of the four annual Grand Slam tennis tournaments. The tournament is held in Melbourne in the middle of the Australian summer, in the last fortnight of the month of January; thus an extreme-heat policy is put into play when temperatures reach dangerous levels. The tournament was held for the first time in 1905 and was last contested on grass in 1987. Since 1972 the Australian Open has been held in Melbourne, Victoria. In 1988, the tournament became a hard court event. It is currently held at Melbourne Park.

The two main courts used in the tournament are Rod Laver Arena and Hisense Arena and feature retractable roofs, which are shut during rain or extreme heat. The Australian Open and Wimbledon are the only Grand Slam tournaments with indoor play. In 2008, the Rebound Ace surface, which had been in place for the past 20 years at Melbourne Park, was replaced by a cushioned, medium-paced, acrylic surface known as Plexicushion Prestige. Roger Federer and Serena Williams are the only players to win the Australian Open on both Rebound Ace and Plexicushion Prestige. The main benefits of the new surface are better consistency and less retention of heat because of a thinner top layer. This change was accompanied by changes in the surfaces of all lead-up tournaments to the Australian Open. The change was controversial because of the new surface's similarity to DecoTurf, the surface used by the US Open.

Like all other Grand Slam tournaments, there are men's and women's singles competitions; men's, women's, and mixed doubles; and junior's, wheelchair, exhibition, and legends' competitions.

The Australian Open typically has very high attendance, with the 2010 Australian Open achieving the highest ever single-day day/night attendance record for any Grand Slam tournament of 77,043 and an overall attendance of 653,860.

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