The Australian Open and famed ‘Happy slam’ in marvellous Melbourne draws thousands of interstate and international visitors every year to Australia’s city of sport.
The Australian Open – The Grand Slam of Asia-Pacific – is broadcast to more than 200 countries around the world and boosts the Victorian economy by millions, selling out hotels and injecting the city with a real sporting buzz.
And this year is tipped to be the biggest total attendance ever with the first week alone seeing over 500,000 visitors.
The iconic Australian (and biggest) sporting event, for years sponsored by sport-loving Emirates, was first played in 1905, and held in various cities around Australia and NZ before finally settling in Melbourne in 1972 – which is undoubtedly the home of sport in Australia.
Here’s seven useless facts about the Australian Open that you probably don’t know.
Or don’t care about. But hey, read on because they could come in handy at the next trivia night.
1. 40,000 tennis balls are used every year
Now that’s a lot of balls!
The humble tennis ball dates back to 1480 and was originally made from leather stuffed with wool. These days it’s made out of a hollow rubber core, covered in a wool or nylon shell. Pressurised air inside the rubber core makes the ball bounce. And in case you’re wondering why are tennis balls yellow? Research conducted in the 70s revealed that yellow was the easiest colour to be seen on colour TVs.
2. There are more than 300 ball boys and girls
To become a ball boy or girl, hopeful applicants need to pass a written test and have the ability to stand in the sun for hours. The average age of a ball boy or girl is 15.
3. Rafael Nadal won the longest ever tennis match
Clocking in at five hours and 14 minutes of inspirational tennis, the semi-final between these two tennis heavy-weights was also voted as the 2009 ATP Tour Match of the Year.
4. Approximately 164,000 ice cream cones were smashed in 2007
It was a record-breaking year in 2007, with 40+ degree days uncomfortably common for players and spectators alike. Luckily, ice-cream was close by.
5. Around 37,000 Barbecued snags are also chomped
Well the event does run over Australia Day. And everyone loves a snag.
6. All the action in the 2014 tournament was enough to fill 100 terabytes
That’s the equivalent of about 500,000 DVD quality movies.
7. Appx 57km of string is used to re-string 4673 racquets
All we can think is… Those poor cats.
Who’s going to win? Will you be watching this year’s Australian Open final? Let us know in the comments below.
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