World tennis is played on every continent in all four corners of the globe.
The four most famous tennis tournaments in the world are known as the Grand Slam tournaments or the Majors.
They consist of the Wimbledon Championships, the French Open, the Australian Open and the US Open. They rank as the highest in the world due to tradition and prestige, world ranking and prize money.
The Australian Open
Held in Melbourne Park in January the Australian Open is the first of the Grand Slam events to be played every year.
First played on grass in 1905 it continued to use that surface until 1987. The following year grass was replaced by hard courts. The first surface was green Rebound Ace to be replaced by blue Plexicushion from 2008 onwards.
The current holders of the 2016 singles titles are; Novak Djokovic who won his record-equaling sixth Australian title versus Britain’s Andy Murray, German Angelique Kerber who beat Serena Williams in the women’s singles. Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares in the men’s doubles and Martina Hingis and Sanya Mirza in the ladies doubles.
The sponsor was Kia and there was a record attendance for the tournament of 720,363.
The French Open
Following the Australian Open chronologically is the French Open in Paris held in late May to early June. It is the only Grand Slam tournament to be held on clay as it has been since 1891.
Because clay is renowned as a slow-moving surface, the French Open is often considered to be the most physically demanding of the four majors.
It’s current champions are Rafael Nadal in the men’s singles and Francesca Schiavone in the women’s. Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic in the men’s doubles and Katarina Srebotnik and Nenad Zimohjic in the mixed doubles.
Wimbledon is in south London and is the oldest and best known tournament of the lot. First competed for in 1877 it is held in late June and early July, famous for it’s strawberry teas and champagne bars it is as much an English social institution as well as a sporting event.
It is the only one of the majors still played on grass thus keeping it’s strong ties with tradition. Current champions are; Rafael Nadal in the men’s singles and Serena Williams in the women’s singles. Jurgen Melzer and Phillip Petzschner in the men’s doubles and Vania King and Yaroslava Shvedova in the women’s doubles.
The US Open
The final tournament in the Grand Slam calendar is the latest addition to the majors. The US Open started as the US National Championship in 1881 but it did not join the other three Grand Slam venues till 1987.
The tournament is held from late August to early September. The US Open started on grass then moved to clay in 1975 before settling to hard courts in 1978. The currents champions are Juan Martin del Potro in the men’s singles, Kim Clijsters in the women’s. Lukas Dlouhy and Leander Paes in the men’s doubles and Serena and Venus Williams in the women’s doubles.
All four tournaments are going from strength to strength and continue to be at the vanguard of world tennis.
While you might not have ambitions to become a world ranked player, you can still improve your overall game and fitness levels with proper tennis coaching.