The Ultimate Guide to Tennis Tournaments

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While hundreds of professional tennis tournaments take place each and every year, there are four events which headline the calendar: Grand Slams (AKA the majors).
The Grand Slams – the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open – are the biggest with good reason. They offer the most ranking points and the biggest prizes to players. That’s why you’ll find all of the best tennis players in the world competing at them if they’re fit, which also draws in the crowds, TV crews and sponsors.

In the following sections, we’ll take a closer at the four Grand Slam tournaments, as well as some other big tennis tournaments, like the men’s Davis Cup and the women’s Fed Cup.


mrgreen wimbledon
The world’s oldest and most famous tennis tournament is Wimbledon, which been running since 1877 at London’s All England Club. The tournament traditionally started in late June, but this has moved to moved to July in recent years, with the tournament spanning 14 days. Like all the majors, Wimbledon has men’s and women’s singles and doubles events, as well as a mixed doubles competition.

Wimbledon is seen as quintessentially British, with its grass courts, all-white dress code for players, while strawberries and cream are hugely popular with fans watching. The infamous British weather can also play a big part at Wimbledon due to the ‘rain days’ which bring play to a halt. However, with the introduction of a retractable roof on centre court, such conditions no long impact the big matches.

Wimbledon history

Not only is Wimbledon the most famous tennis event in the world, it’s also one of the most famous sports events on the planet. While the US Open and Australian Open have abandoned grass courts for the easy maintenance of artificial surfaces, Wimbledon has stayed true to its roots and continues to be played on grass to this day.
The grass court can play very much into the hands of players with a slower, more defensive style, meaning you can utilise this knowledge with certain tennis betting strategies to find good value in these types of players.

The tournament was originally a men only event and was first won by Spencer Gore is 1877, while the women’s singles and men’s doubles tournaments were added to proceedings in 1884. The line-up was complete in 1913 with the introduction of ladies’ doubles and mixed doubles.

Wimbledon Format

Both the men’s and women’s singles events consist of 128 players, 104 of these are direct entries based on rankings in the men’s game, while on the women’s side, this stands at 108. Eight wild card entries are also included on each side, with a Committee of Management selecting these players based on factors like who has performed well at other or previous tournaments, as well as who would garner public attention. In 2001, Goran Ivanisevic went on to win the tournament having entered as a wild card.

The top 32 players in each event are seeded, meaning the draw has been made so that the top players don’t meet each other until the latter stages. For example, the top four players would only meet at the semi-final stage if they won all of their matches prior to this point.

Famous Players at Wimbledon

Roger Federer may be the most successful male player at Wimbledon ever, having won the title on eight occasions between 2003 and 2017. But of course the Dutch idolise Richard Krajicek, who in 1996 became the first Dutch player to win the men’s singles at Wimbledon. After a shocking straight-set win against Pete Sampras in the quarterfinal, Krajicek achieved what is no doubt the pinnacle of his tennis career when he was allowed to lift and kiss the traditional, Victorian Wimbledon Cup.
There’s no shortage of legends in the women’s game either, with America’s Martina Navratilova holding the record for the most titles with nine between 1978 and 1990. The Williams sisters have also enjoyed tremendous success in London having earned 12 titles between them as of 2019 (seven for Serena and five for Venus). Indeed, the two sisters have even met each other in the final on four occasions (2002, 2003, 2008 and 2009), with Serena winning three of those duels. Betty Stöve is so far the only Dutch woman to reach the final of the Wimbledon singles.

Wimbledon Records

Record Player
Most gentlemen’s singles titles Roger Federer (8)
Most ladies’ singles titles Martina Navratilova (9)
Youngest gentlemen’s singles winner Boris Becker, 17 years and 227 days (1985)
Youngest ladies’ singles winner Lottie Dod, 15 years and 285 days (1887)
Oldest gentlemen’s singles winner Arthur Gore, 41 years and 182 days (1909)
Oldest ladies’ singles winner Charlotte Cooper Sterry, 37 years and 282 days (1908)

US Open

Mr Green US Open
The final tennis major of the year comes in America, with the US Open starting in late August and running for two weeks, with the middle weekend coinciding with Labour Day in the States. This is one of the most popular dates in the tennis calendar, with players at Mr Green often able to enjoy a free bet on the action.
With the US Open being the final major of the year, it presents the opportunity for players to claim the Calendar Grand Slam if they have conquered the other three majors that year. However, this is an exceedingly rare occurrence and – partly due to Rafael Nadal’s stranglehold on the French Open – no male player has managed to claim a Grand Slam since.

Only male players have won a Calendar Grand Slam, with Don Budge doing so in 1938, before Rod Laver managed to do so twice – once in 1962 and then again in 1969. In the women’s game, Maureen Connolly first managed the feat in 1953, before Margaret Court did so in 1970, followed by Steffi Graf in 1988. More recently, Serena Williams has managed two non-Calendar Grand Slams, meaning she won all four Grand Slams back-to-back, but not in the same calendar year.

US Open history

Having been first played in 1881, the US Open is one of the oldest tennis tournaments in the world. The men’s tournament was the original event, before the women’s tournament was added in 1887, followed by doubles events in 1889.

These days, the US Open takes place in Queens, but the tournament was originally played in Rhode Island.
You can also rely on the US Open, as it is the only of the majors to have taken place in every single year since its inception.

US Open Format

The match format is a little different in the US Open compared to the other majors as it uses tiebreakers in all five sets, with the other events only using tie breakers in the final set if the players are tied at 6-6 in games.

As is the case with all the majors, the US Open has 128 male and female players taking part, as well as 64 pairs of doubles.

Famous Players at the US Open

The US Open is well-known for being one of the hardest to predict tennis tournaments of the year. While Wimbledon and the French Open can certainly suit specific types of players, nearly all players have been brought up very much used to the artificial hard-court surface used in Queens.
After Roger Federer won five back-to-back titles between 2004 and 2008, no other player has managed to retain the title since – with Federer himself not winning in any of the next 10 years. During this spell, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Juan Martin del Potro, Marin Cilic and Stan Wawrinka have all enjoyed success here.
In the women’s game during the Open Era, Serena Williams is tied with Chris Evert on six titles, although there were five different winners of the tournament between 2014 and 2018 – again showing how open this tournament is.

US Open records

Record Player
Most men’s singles titles Richard Sears, William Larned, Bill Tilden (7)
Most women’s singles titles Molla Mallory (8)
Youngest men’s singles winner Pete Sampras, 19 years and 1 months (1990)
Youngest women’s singles winner Tracy Austin, 16 years and 8 months (1979)
Oldest men’s singles winner William Larned, 38 years and 8 months (1911)
Oldest women’s singles winner Molla Mallory, 42 years and 5 months (1926)

Australian Open

Mr Green Australian Open

The tennis year really kicks off in Melbourne, as the world’s best players compete at the Australian Open.
Taking place during the final fortnight in January each year, the Australian Open is nowadays played on a hard surface made out of Plexicushion. While typically played outdoors, the tournament’s three primary courts, Melbourne Arena, Rod Laver Arena and the Margaret Court Arena, all have retractable roofs which enable play to continue in wet or extremely hot weather.

The Australian Open is the most-attended tennis tournament each year, with over 780,000 people attending the 2019 event.
Novak Djokovic is the most successful player of all-time in the men’s tournament having landed a eighth title in 2020, while Margaret Court (who has one of the main courts suitably named after her) is the most successful women’s player with 12 titles – the last of which came back in 1973, in what looks to be a record that will continue to stand for decades to come.

Australian Open history

First played at Warehouseman’s Cricket Ground in Melbourne in 1905, the tournament was originally known as the Australasian Championships, before being renamed to the Australian Championships in 1927 and then the Australian Open in 1969.

Until 1988, the Australian Open was actually played on grass courts but subsequently switched to an artificial hardcourt surface thereafter.
The tournament has exploded in popularity in recent decades, going from 140,089 spectators in 1987 to 501,251 in 2000, while over 780,000 made it to the 2019 event.

Australian Open Format

There are five events at the Australian Open: Men’s Singles, Men’s Doubles, Women’s Singles, Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles – all of which are played in a straight knockout format. The speed of play in the Australian Open is also some of the fastest in the sport, which can lead to some very interesting live betting opportunities as matches can swing in an instant.

128 players enter the men’s and women’s singles events, made up of the top-ranking players, plus nine wildcards and 16 qualifiers. The qualifiers are decided with in a pre-qualification round for unranked players. Doubles events have 64 pairs entering and follow the same format.
The women’s final takes place on the final Saturday of the tournament, while the men’s final takes place a day later on the Sunday and closes the event.

Famous Players at the Australian Open

Novak Djokovic has proven himself to be king of the men’s game down under in recent years, scooping titles in 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019 and 2020.

Australia’s own Margaret Court is a legend of the women’s game and completely dominated the tournament in the sixties and early seventies, winning no less than 11 titles – a record that is hard to see being beaten.

Australian Open records

Record Player
Most men’s singles titles Novak Djokovic (8)
Most women’s singles titles Margaret Court (11)
Youngest men’s singles winner Ken Rosewall, 18 years and 2 months (1953)
Youngest women’s singles winner Martina Hingis, 16 years and 4 months (1997)
Oldest men’s singles winner Ken Rosewall, 37 years and 2 months (1972)
Oldest women’s singles winner Thelma Coyne Long, 35 years and 8 months (1954)

French Open (AKA Roland Garros)

Mr Green French Open

Played over 14 days, starting in May and ending in June each year, the French Open takes place in Stade Roland-Garros in Paris, hence why many people refer to this major simply as “Roland Garros”.

The French Open is the only Grand Slam event to be played on clay. This is a very unique surface and one that is suited to defensive players. One of the most unique features of the surface is that players can slide into their shots to conserve energy. This unique surface can be very testing for players who aren’t used to it and makes this one of the hardest events to win for any player looking to complete the Grand Slam (i.e. win all four major events in one year). This should also be a key consideration for any betting strategies you want to apply to the French Open. Indeed, many of the biggest names in tennis have failed to win a single French Open, including John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Pete Sampras, Martina Hingis and Venus Williams.

French Open history

While the first ever French Open took place in 1891, it wasn’t until 1925 that it become the international tournament it is today.

The French Open is also one of the more progressive tennis tournaments in the world. Since 1981, players have also been awarded with three extra prizes. The Prix Orange is awarded for the player demonstrating the best sportsmanship and cooperation with the press, while the Prix Citron is awarded to the player with the strong character and the Prix Bourgeon is awarded to the “tennis player revelation of the year”. What’s more, since 2007, men and women have been awarded equal prize money in all rounds.

French Open Format

Like all of the Grand Slam tournaments, 128 players enter both the men’s and women’s tournaments each year. The top 32 of these players are ranked, so as to avoid the top players facing each other in the early rounds.

The majority of players are invited to the tournament based on rankings, while the French Open draws from a pool of eight wild cards for each event, as well as setting up qualifiers to determine the final eight.

Famous Players at Roland Garros

Rafael Nadal has demonstrated like no other how the difference in surface can be used to your own advantage and he is truly the master of clay in the 21st century.

As of 2019, the Spanish player has won 12 French Open titles, including a remarkable run that saw him win nine of the 10 titles between 2005 and 2014. Indeed, of Nadal’s 18 career Grand Slams as of the start of 2019, 12 came in Paris. Due to Nadal’s dominance in this event, Roger Federer has never claimed a Grand Slam, despite winning all of the other majors in the same year on no less than three occasions – on two of those occasions, he lost in the final to Nadal at Roland Garros. Likewise, Novak Djokovic has had the same problem, winning all the other majors in 2011 and 2015, but falling short in Paris.

Not entirely in the same league, but nevertheless worth mentioning is Tom Okker aka the Flying Dutchman. He was the only professional tennis player from The Netherlands to win the Roland Garros final, albeit in the mixed-doubles tournament.

There has been no dominance on the women’s side of the game in recent years, with 10 different winners in the 12 years up to 2018. The last female player to retain the title was Belgium’s Justine Henin in 2007.

Chris Evert is the most successful female player of all time at Roland Garros, having won seven titles between 1974 and 1986.

French Open records

Record Player
Most men’s singles titles Rafael Nadal (12)
Most women’s singles titles Chris Evert (7)
Youngest men’s singles winner Michael Chang, 17 years and 3 months (1989)
Youngest women’s singles winner Monica Seles, 16 years and 6 months (1990)
Oldest men’s singles winner Andre Vacherot, 40 years and 9 months (1901)
Oldest women’s singles winner Zsuzsa Kormoczy, 33 years and 10 months (1958)

Other Popular Tennis Tournaments

Of course, tennis isn’t just about the majors. There are hundreds of tennis tournaments taking place on the ATP and WTA circuits each year. But there’s also some interesting international team tournaments which take place – uniting players and fans in a game which is normally just pits one player against another.

Davis Cup

Mr Green Davis Cup
Despite not being an official major, there’s no doubt that the Davis Cup is still one of the biggest tennis tournaments in the world.

The Davis Cup also differs from other tennis tournaments as it is an international team event, competed for by men only.

The tournament follows a knockout format, but with countries going head-to-head rather than individual players doing so. Each knockout stage sees several players from each country taking on each other, with the overall winning country proceeding to the next round.

The US is the most successful nation at the Davis Cup with 32 titles, although only one of these has come since 1995. Australia is close behind too with 28 titles, although, again, they haven’t won since 2003. This is another difficult to predict tournament, with seven different countries winning the title between 2013 and 2019.

Fed Cup

Mr Green Fed Cup

The Fed Cup is effectively the female equivalent of the Davis Cup, having launched in 1963.
Again, the United States dominate the honours board with 18 titles, although the Czech Republic have been the most successful team in the past decade, winning six titles between 2011 and 2018.

With over 100 countries entering each year, the competition has multiple stages in order to find the teams, before the top 16 teams enter the elite “World Group”.

Hopman Cup

Founded in 1989, the Hopman Cup is like the Davis Cup and Fed Cup combined, as it is again a team competition with countries competing with one another, but with each team made up of one male player and one female player.

In each overall match between teams, there are three matches: one women’s singles match, one men’s singles match, followed by a mixed doubles match. The best of three wins.
Again, the Hofman Cup has had many different winners in recent years, although the Swiss team of Belinda Bencic and Roger Federer defeated the Germans back-to-back in the finals of 2018 and 2019. The US are the most successful nation with six titles.


While tennis may be overshadowed by the more ‘regular’ sporting events like football, rugby and basketball, there’s no doubt that the popularity of tennis continues to grow – with the excitement of tennis tournament action hard to duplicate.

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