Melbourne Daily Photo

Hello, I created this blog because Melbourne is my city and I want people to see what a beautiful place it is. So come with me on a journey of discovery as we traverse the dining precincts, the culture, the laneways and hidden gems that make Melbourne marvellous.

Waltzing Australia

Monday, 18 January 2010

Rod Laver Arena

The Tennis Courts at Rod Laver
Tennis anyone?
Today is the start of the Australian Open, which takes place in Melbourne each year at Rod Laver Arena in January - the first of the world's four Grand Slam tennis tournaments. The four Grand Slam tournaments are the Australian Open (1905), French Open at Roland Garros (1891), Wimbledon (1877) and US Open (1881).

Only one person, Australian tennis player Rod Laver, has won the Grand Slam — winning all four tournaments in one year — twice.

Rod Laver Arena
Rod Laver Arena is a part of the Melbourne Park complex. Originally called Centre Court, the arena was officially renamed Rod Laver Arena in January 2000 to honour Rod Laver, a three-time winner of the Australian Open and one of Australia's greatest tennis players of all time.

Seating Plan
The arena which was finished in 1988, seats 16,820 and attracts over 1.5 million visitors per year. Since 1988, Rod Laver Arena has been best known as the venue for the Australian Open tennis finals, however it is also where almost every famous entertainer in the world has performed. The stadium’s versatile nature has seen everything from rodeos, motocross, swimming championships and basketball to children’s shows. The outside courts are available for hire and tours of Rod Laver Arena run daily.

Rod Laver Statue
Rod Laver's statue stands outside the arena and it is from this point that tours are conducted.

The Rockhampton Rocket
Rod Laver was born Rodney George Laver on 9 August 1938 in Langdale, Rockhampton (Rocky) Queensland. A skinny, sickly lad, and one of 13 children, he was raised on cattle farms and learned to play tennis on anthill courts his father built on the properties. A left-hander, he took up the game when he was six using a sawn-off wooden racquet, and was christened ‘Rocket’ by Harry Hopman because of his grit, determination and work ethic. He was inducted into the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame in January 1993, and into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1981 a Sport Australia Hall of Fame Legend.

Grand Slam 1969
He is the only person to have won the Grand Slam twice, in 1962 and 1969 and was also the first tennis player to become a millionaire. Laver won Wimbledon four times, Australian Open three times and the French and US Open twice.
At the time, (1962) the Grand Slam events were only open to amateur players, who were given (under the table) little more than cost of living money for their appearances in tournaments.

It was not until 1968 that the rules were changed and professional players were allowed to participate and if not for the restrictions of pre-Open era tennis, who knows how many Grand Slam titles Rod Laver would have had?

Rod Laver vs Tony Roche - Australian Open 1969

Laver (in white hat) begins his journey to the Grand Slam 1969

The free city shuttle bus stops near Rod Laver and tennis fans heading to and from the Australian Open from 18 to 31 January can catch free shuttle trams running on Route 70 from the corner of Flinders and Swanston streets to Rod Laver and Hisense arenas.

Today's Quote: Ladies, here's a hint. If you're up against a girl with big boobs, bring her to the net and make her hit backhand volleys. That's the hardest shot for the well-endowed - Billie Jean King.


Leif Hagen said...

What a great posting about tennis! Wish I could have a front row seat to watch a match!

Joe Todd said...

Thanks for the commentary and great photos. If you get a chance would love to see some golf courses

Luis Gomez said...

I wish I was there. I guess I will be watching on TV.

Cezar and Léia said...

Tennis must be so exciting to play but in fact I`ve never tried. I should!
God bless you!

BlossomFlowerGirl said...

Leif Hagen - I was fortunate to win double tickets and had "best seats in the house" - I watched Mary Joe Fernandez and Amanda Coetzer, but it was the men I was waiting to see - Andre Agassi and Pat Rafter.

Joe - I'll see if I can get down to the gold links - I have a golf club though. (Kept in the corner for burglars)

Luis - Watch it in a big screen - do the hotels show them where you are?

Cezar and Léia - I learnt tennis at school and love it. Unfortunately Mr. Slattery the tennis coach groaned every time he saw me!


Jim said...

I'm looking forward to the Australian Open.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Stine in Ontario said...

It seems so appropriate to name the place after a superstar. Every nation likes to feel proud of its local heros, and well they should!

Lowell said...

Terrific post and a great paean to Mr. Laver!

A magnificent stadium, too, and those courts are for kings! Will you be attending the Open?

Wonderful photos!

brattcat said...

What a dedicated athlete and what a beautiful arena to honor him.

arabesque said...

informative post on tennis history, no wonder it's named after him.
i used to watched tennis matches but only on t.v, ^0^ beck then, my faves were steffi g, pete s., and andre a.

Unknown said...

GREAT first photo - just fantastic. I'm quite excited about the Aust Open!

Louis la Vache said...

«Louis» loves stories like this!

Eden said...

Love to go there someday. Beautiful pictures and information. thanks for taking us there.

diane b said...

A terrific post. I knew he was a good tennis player but didn't realise he is the only one to have won the grand slam. Ah the sixties was the era of Aussie tennis stars.

Unknown said...

Great post, really interesting! Well done.

Bergson said...

i'm ready for the federer's slam

l'alia-du said...

alli os mandamos al Nadal para que lo gane, saludos y un abrazo

VP said...

Not a tennis player but I watched my games. This in excellent post, interesting and complete and this arena is simply awesome!

Three Rivers, Michigan said...

Interesting sports photos and history, but what really caught my eye was that first picture - at first glance, I thought they were swimming pools!

Three Rivers Daily Photo

Wolynski said...

It's not that Rod Laver was a great Australian player - he was one of the best who ever played.

Australian open already? My, how time flies.

Lovely photos.

johnny said...

I've always liked sports requête, I'm too old to play. You know if he plays Rafa Nadal?. Wonderful story.

Anya said...

Very nice post
well written....
(I have never played tennis :(
It looks great I will once try it

Bhavesh Chhatbar said...

Yes, my wife loves tennis; she'll be happy to see this :)

Lazy Bird

Anonymous said...

I thought of you yesterday when I was playing Monopoly, a card saying that eating crocodile in Australia ... delicious !!... hahaha

You are of my friends that this further, but I love the idea.
thanks for always staying close, is it really important

your photos as I always feel like going to visit such beautiful places, where the weather is beautiful.


Samantha White said...

loving the tennis photos...especially the courts. great work.

Unknown said...

Looking at these photos again - I do like the tennis courts. Hope you are enjoying tennis!

Rupinder said...

Lovely places, Mandy. Hopefully one day you will get to see them.

Rockhampton Weather

Melbourne Daily Photo

Hello, I created this blog because Melbourne is my city and I want people to see what a beautiful place it is. So come with me on a journey of discovery as we traverse the dining precincts, the culture, the laneways and hidden gems that make Melbourne marvellous.