The Biggest Tournaments in Tennis

The key tournaments to watch out for on the tennis calendar are the four Grand Slams (also known as majors). Here is where you’ll see the sports greatest stars battling it out for the biggest prize money. There are also more ranking points available than in any other tournament.

The top players approach most other tournaments as a way of hitting peak form for these four competitions. The majors also garner the most media attention. So for all the above reasons, we’ll focus mainly on these four events, with some attention also given to the Davis Cup (a national cup for the gentleman) and the Fed Cup (one for the ladies).

Wimbledon

mrgreen wimbledon
Wimbledon is the world’s oldest tennis tournament and is seen as the most prestigious. After all, Wills and Kate are typically in attendance. Since 1877, it has been played at London’s All England Club in Wimbledon.

Traditionally, it’s played over 14 days, starting in late June. However, the tennis calendar has undergone recent changes, which has meant that Wimbledon has commenced in July.

Other traditions include a dress code for Royal patronage and players. Famously, strawberries and cream is the food of choice. In fact, in 2007 alone, fans consumed some 34,000kg of strawberries, not to mention 10,000l of cream. Wimbledon is also known for having no sponsored advertising around its courts. It’s also popular among punters who enjoy a flutter at the event. The likes of Mr Green offer both fixed odds and live betting.

Wimbledon history

Held in the location of which it’s named, and one of the world’s oldest sporting events, Wimbledon first took place in 1877. To this day, it’s still held at the All England Club, where it first started. The competition lasts for around 14 days.

Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam still played on traditional grass. In fact, as has already been alluded to, much about the event continues to be steeped in tradition. The rules that were developed for a Lawn Tennis Championship, for example, were similar to those still used today, although not exactly the same.

The first person to have ever won the tournament was a gentleman by the name of Spencer Gore. At that time, only gentleman were allowed to participate. Ladies singles, along with gentleman’s doubles, were added in 1884. Ladies doubles and mixed doubles events first took place in 1913.

How Wimbledon is structured

The Wimbledon draw is selected randomly, with a computer determining a position for each player. Prior to the draw, each of the 32 seeds is removed from the draw before they’re added back by the organisers at a later date. The singles tournaments occur over seven rounds.

But there’s a method to all this computerised madness. Players are placed in one of two brackets to prevent those with the highest seeds from facing each other. The way that the tournament is structured, it’s impossible for the top eight seeds to play one another until the quarter-finals.

Player spotlight: Roger Federer

Roger Federer has won Wimbledon eight times, a record. He also holds the record for overall Grand Slam titles, with 20. He turned pro in 1998, and from 2002, he ranked in the top 10 for 14 years. After winning the Australian Open in 2017, he earned his way back into the top 10. Certainly impressive!

Many analysts and players regard Federer as the game’s greatest-ever player. He’s even been referred to as his generation’s greatest athlete. Quite a compliment. As well as his Grand Slam wins, Federer won a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics.

*Pre-1968, Grand Slams were restricted to amateur players. **The Open Era was established in 1968 when professionals were allowed to play alongside amateurs in major tournaments, including Grand Slams.

Record Era Player Number Years
Most men’s singles titles Pre-1968 William Renshaw 7 1881, 1882, 1883, 1884, 1885, 1886, 1889
Laurence Doherty 5 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906
Open Era Roger Federer 8 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2017
Pete Sampras 7 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000
Björn Borg 5 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980
Most women’s singles titles Pre-1968 Helen Wills Moody 8 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1932, 1933, 1935, 1938
Dorothea Lambert Chambers 7 1903, 1904, 1906, 1910, 1911, 1913, 1914
Martina Navratilova 9 1978, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1990

US Open

Mr Green US Open

Introduction

One of the world’s oldest tennis tournaments, the national hardcourt tennis championship was first played in 1881. We’ve seen some exciting matches over the years. McEnroe! Connors! Becker! Edberg! They’ve all graced the courts of Flushing Meadows.

The US Open is the fourth Grand Slam on the calendar. Starting in late August, it lasts for two weeks with the weekend in the middle coinciding with Labour Day in the U.S.

The event is the only one of the Grand Slams that uses tiebreakers in all five sets. The other three events apply different scoring methods to matches that reach 6-6 in the final set.

Some of the biggest non-Grand Slam events take place in the U.S., such as the Indian Wells Masters and the Miami Masters but none can compete with the US Open in terms of history, attendance, ranking points, and prize money.
s oldest tennis tournaments, the national hardcourt tennis championship was first played in 1881. We’ve seen some exciting matches over the years. McEnroe! Connors! Becker! Edberg! They’ve all graced the courts of Flushing Meadows.

The US Open is the fourth Grand Slam on the calendar. Starting in late August, it lasts for two weeks with the weekend in the middle coinciding with Labour Day in the U.S.

The event is the only one of the Grand Slams that uses tiebreakers in all five sets. The other three events apply different scoring methods to matches that reach 6-6 in the final set.

Some of the biggest non-Grand Slam events take place in the U.S., such as the Indian Wells Masters and the Miami Masters but none can compete with the US Open in terms of history, attendance, ranking points, and prize money.

US Open history

The first US Open took place in 1881, with only men allowed to take part in both singles and doubles tournaments. The women’s singles tournament was added six years later in 1887. The first mixed doubles and women’s doubles events occurred in 1889. While it may now be played on a hard surface, it has undergone a number of facelifts, having previously been played on both clay and grass.

The championships may currently be played in Queens but it began in Rhode Island. Richard Sears won the very first US Open. Unlike the three other three Grand Slams, this is the only tournament to have taken place every year since its inception. This has made it the most reliable of all the majors, so fans can rest assured they’ll be getting some US Open action, as can those punters who know their tennis. These days, the likes of Mr Green provides tennis betting strategies, anyway, so there’s no excuse for not knowing your stuff.

How the US Open is structured

There are five primary championships: men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles. There are also events for juniors, seniors, and wheelchair players. Since 1978, Flushing Meadows’ USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center has hosted the tournament.

The Open is the only one of the four Grand Slams that applies tiebreakers to each set of a singles match. It’s also the only Grand Slam to feature 16 qualifiers, as opposed to 12, in the women’s singles competition.

Player spotlight: Jimmy Connors

Jimmy Connors was perhaps the greatest-ever payer at the US Open. He played in the event for five years in a row from 1974-1978. He won three of those titles, with each being played on a different surface (grass, clay, and hard court). He won his final US Open in 1983 when he ended the year ranked No.3 in the year. That year, Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe traded the top ranking numerous times.

Connors assumed the No.1 ATP ranking for what was then a record 160 straight weeks, from 1974 through to 1977. He held the top spot for 268 weeks, overall.

US Open records as of 2019

Record Era Player Number Years
Most men’s singles titles Pre-1968 Richard Sears 7 1881, 1882, 1883, 1884, 1885, 1886, 1887
William Larned 7 1901, 1902, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911
Bill Tilden 7 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1929
Open Era Jimmy Connors 5 1974, 1976, 1978, 1982, 1983
Pete Sampras 5 1990, 1993, 1995, 1996, 2002
Roger Federer 5 2004, 2005, 2006 , 2007, 2008
Most women’s singles titles Pre-1968 Molla Mallory 8 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1926
Open Era Chris Evert 6 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1982
Serena Williams 6 1999, 2002, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014

Australian Open

Mr Green Australian Open

Once known as the Australasian Championships, the Australian Open is now the Southern Hemisphere’s largest annual sporting event. The tournament of many names, it’s also known as the “Grand Slam of Asia/Pacific” and “the happy slam”.

The Australian Open is attended more than any of the other Grand Slams (the 2019 event attracted over 780,000 fans). It featured indoor play in extreme heat or wet weather before any other Grand Slam, with its three primary courts being the Melbourne Arena, the Rod Laver Arena, and the Margaret Court Arena.

Australian Open history

The first tournament was held in Melbourne in 1905, with Rodney Heath named the winner. It has occurred in every January since then. Women were allowed to compete in the event in 1922 when Mali Molesworth won the trophy. In 2011, we saw the longest women’s match in the history of all Grand Slams when Svetlana Kuznetsova fought a closely-fought contest for four long hours before being defeated by Francesca Schiavone.

Just one year later, the longest-ever match at the tournament took place between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. The contest lasted close to six hours before Djokovic claimed victory.

The tournament was at one time played on grass but has been played on a hard surface since 1988.

How the Australian Open is structured

A singles qualification event goes on for a few days at the beginning of the tournament. Once this phase has come to an end, the first round begins. This is the start of the knockout stage of the competition; as soon as players reach the quarter-finals the action really heats up.

The draw is structured so that the women’s final occurs on a Saturday, with the men’s final occurring on the following day. Like with each of the grand slams, the men’s final is regarded as the big draw among both spectators and punters. If you’re in the latter camp, you might want to pick up some betting strategies at Mr Green before your next bet.

Player spotlight: Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic has won The Australian Open a record seven times. He’s won 15 Grand Slam titles, overall, as well as 12 ATP Tour 500 titles, 32 ATP Tour Masters 1000 titles, and five ATP Finals titles. So I guess he’s pretty good then? After all, he’s also assumed the top ATP ranking for more than 240 weeks and is the first player to have won all Grand Slams on three different surfaces. Oh, and he’s also the one male player to have won each of the nine Masters 1000 events.

The first Serbian tennis player to achieve a No. 1 ranking, Djokovic has won a number of awards away from the court, including the 2011 BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year award.

Australian Open records as of 2019

Record Era Player Number Years
Most men’s singles titles Pre-1969 Roy Emerson 6 1961, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967
Open Era Novak Djokovic 7 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019
Most women’s singles titles Pre-1969 Margaret Court 7 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966
Open Era Serena Williams 7 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2017

French Open

Mr Green French Open

The French Open, also known as Roland Garros, is played over 14 days, starting in May and ending in early June. Held in Paris’ Stade Roland-Garros, a stadium named after a French aviator, the Open is the world’s No. 1 clay court championship event and is the highlight of the spring clay court season.

Due to the fact that the Championship comprises seven rounds, best-of-five singles matches (with no tiebreaker should a fifth set be required), and on a slow-playing surface, the French Open is seeing as the world’s most physically demanding tennis championship.

French Open history

The first French Open took place in Paris in 1891. Back then, however, it was merely a national competition. It didn’t evolve into the global competition it is now until 1925. It starts in May and carries on until June on a red, clay surface. It’s one of just four majors played on clay, which makes it intriguing among those who enjoy placing a bet on their favourite sport. Mr Green offers a free bet for those who think they just might know who will conquer the clay at the next event.

Due to the difference in surfaces, a number of players find it harder to play this tournament than they do others, which makes it harder to achieve Grand Slam status.

The French Open became the first championship tournament to allow professionals and amateurs to compete together, or “go open” as it’s called. In 2007, it also became the very first championship to see both genders receive equal prize money.

How the French Open is structured

The French Open is structured much like the other three Grand Slams. Where the competition mainly differs is in its surface. Clay makes the tournament one of the most physically demanding in the world.This is down to the fact that clay courts are known for being slow and so the players are forced to rely on top and topspin shots.

Many great players have failed to repeat their success of other majors at Roland Garros. The list includes such legends as Pete Sampras, Boris Becker, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Maria Bueno, and Bill Tilden.

Player spotlight: Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal has won the French Open 11 times, a record. He’s won 17 Grand Slam events in total, second only behind Roger Federer, with whom he continues to enjoy an exciting rivalry. He’s enjoyed a No.1 ATP ranking for 196 weeks in total and has 80 career titles behind him. He’s also won 57 clay court titles and 81 straight matches on the same surface. In fact, he holds a record for the longest win streak on one type of surface in the Open Era.

Nadal has played on the winning Spanish Davis Cup team on four occasions and is one of only five players (the other four are Rod Laver, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic) to complete the Career Grand Slam.

French Open records as of 2019

Record Era Player Number Years
Most men’s singles titles Pre-1925 Max Decugis 8 1903, 1904, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1912, 1913, 1914
1925-68 Henri Cochet 4 1926, 1928, 1930, 1932
Open Era Rafael Nadal 11 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018
Pre-1968 Suzanne Lenglen 6 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1925, 1926
Open Era Chris Evert 7 1974, 1975, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986

Davis Cup

Mr Green Davis Cup

The Davis Cup is the men’s game’s premier global team competition. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) runs the event, which takes place each year. The organisers have termed it the “World Cup of Tennis” and the winners are called the World Championship team.

In 2018, the ITF decided to modify the event’s format. From 2019, it would feature 18 teams, after 71 per cent of ITF members voted for the change. The idea was to make it more sponsor-friendly Players such as Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic favoured the change, while Roger Federer, Lucas Pouille, Rod Laver and co opposed it.

Davis Cup history

The event began as far back as 1900 in the form of a contest between just two countries: the United States and Great Britain. The idea was likely conceived by the U.S. National Lawn Tennis Association’s first president, James Dwight, when the Association was established in 1881.

Global tournaments had taken place for a while before the first Davis Cup in 1900. The first was an annual national competition between England and Ireland. But none stuck until the Davis Cup.

The competition evolved to a point when in 2016, there were 135 countries taking part. The more successful nations in the tournament’s history are the U.S. (32 titles) and Australia (28 titles).

How the Davis Cup is structured

In the World Group competition, which takes place each year, 16 countries participate in eight first-round ties. The winner of each of these ties plays in four quarterfinal matches.

Each tie comprises five rubbers played over a three day period. The winning nation is the one that wins three rubbers or more. On day three, the last two rubbers typically see reverse singles, with the contestants from the first day swapping opponents.

Since 2011, if a country is leading 3-1 after the reverse singles match and that match lasts for at least four sets, the remaining reverse match isn’t played. Each of the rubbers is played if one country is winning 3-0 after the doubles match.

Davis Cup records as of 2019

Country Number of titles First title Last title
United States 9 1972 2007
Sweden 7 1975 1998
Australia 6 1973 2003
Spain 5 2000 2011
France 4 1991 2017
Germany 3 1988 1993
Czech Republic / Czechoslovakia 3 1980 2013
Russia 2 2002 2006
Croatia 2 2005 2018
South Africa 1 1974
Italy 1 1976
Serbia 1 2010
Switzerland 1 2014
Great Britain 1 2015
Argentina 1 2016

Fed Cup

Mr Green Fed Cup

The Fed Cup is women’s tennis’ premier global team event. Beginning in 1963, it began as a way of commemorating the ITF’s 50th Anniversary. Before 1995, the event was termed the Federation Cup. It’s now the largest annual women’s global sports event in the world, if you consider the number of countries competing as the main factor. Katrina Adams is the present Chairperson of the Fed Cup.

The only countries to have held the Davis Cup and Fed Cup at the same time are the United States, Czech Republic, and Australia.

As well as Fed Cup, ladies also participate in the Hopman Cup, an annual mixed-gender, indoor hardcourt event held in Australia each January.

Fed Cup history

In 1919, a lady by the name of Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman dreamed up the idea for a team tennis tournament for women. While her idea wasn’t approved, she presented a prize trophy at an annual competition between Great Britain and the United States, called the Wightman Cup.

In 1962, Mary Hardwick Hare compiled a dossier containing support for an event similar to that of Wightman’s idea. The support was such that the ITF would have been stubborn beyond belief had they rejected the idea to introduce a team tournament for ladies. After some 40 years since Wightman’s idea, the Fed Cup was introduced.

How the Fed Cup is structured

In 1992, regional qualifying competitions were introduced. Just three years later, the Federation Cup applied a new format, the same year that it changed its name to the Fed Cup. The Fed Cup assumed the home-and-away format so that players could represent their respective countries in front of their home fans. The format has undergone smaller changes since 1995.

In 2005, a new format was introduced, incorporating two world groups with eight nations competing in each group. Each team plays home and away matches over the course of three weekends in the year. There are also three regional groups that compete, with results determining promotions and relegations.

Fed Cup records as of 2019

Country Number of titles First title Last title
United States 18 1963 2017
Czech Republic / Czechoslovakia 11 1975 2018
Australia 7 1964 1974
Spain 5 1991 1998
Soviet Union / Russia 4 2004 2008
Italy 4 2006 2013
Germany / West Germany 2 1966 2014
France 2 1997 2003
South Africa 1 1972
Belgium 1 2001
Slovakia 1 2002

Conclusion

The role of tennis in global competition shows no signs of slowing down, with some of the finest athletes continuing to grace the world’s courts with powerful serves and acrobatic volleys that make us jump up and down and cheer on our heroes. Attendances remain strong, as do viewing figures, thanks to fans and punters alike. With so many sports betting opportunities open to us, such as live betting allowing us to have a flutter while watching the match, the minute-by-minute action is made that much more exciting. Whether we’re rooting for those representing our nation, watching for the love of the game, or because we’ve placed a small wager, we’re all watching with bated breath. And that isn’t about to change any time soon.