Looking back at Australia 1905

How it all started for the Australian open

The 1905 Australasian Championships, as they were called back then,was a tennis tournament played on Grass courts in Melbourne, Australia at Warehouseman’s Cricket Ground. The tournament took place from 17 November through 27 November 1905. It was the inaugural edition of the Australasian Championships and consisted of a men’s singles and men’s doubles competition. The men’s singles event had a field of 17 players and was won by Australian Rodney Heath. The first Championships for women were held in 1922. The site rotated between Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Adelaide until 1988, when the tournament was permanently settled at the hard courts of Flinders Park, which was renamed Melbourne Park in 1996. (The switch to hard courts in 1988 left Wimbledon the sole major grass-court tournament in professional tennis.) Although Australians often dominated the field of tennis internationally, the Australian tournament for many years suffered from the reluctance of overseas players to travel the long distance to compete, a situation largely remedied with the advent of jet travel. The tournament is played in January. The Australian Open has always been held in January, but 1977 was the only year when the tournament was held twice in one calendar year. This was due to a shift in the Australian Open draw and the subsequent tournament to December. As a result, there were two tournaments in 1977 and the December schedule the continued until 1987 when normality was restored. 

Rodney Heath, first winner.

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