The Major Tennis Tournaments

Tennis has been around for ages, and its popularity appears to be growing each year. Every season, the world’s top tennis tournaments draw in thousands of spectators who want to experience the matches first-hand and experience the incredible atmosphere surrounding these events.

Tennis tournaments are among the biggest events in the sporting world, offering fans the opportunity to see their tennis idols in action. Aside from that, tennis tournaments are also brimming with history and tradition, each being unique on its own. Here are some of the world’s top tournaments.

1) Wimbledon

Wimbledon logoBeing the oldest established tennis tournament, Wimbledon is seen as the world’s most prestigious, and every aspiring tennis player dreams of playing in a Wimbledon match someday. 

Founded in 1877 in the district of Wimbledon, London, England, Wimbledon is also famously referred to as “The Championships.”

Wimbledon happens in late June and early July every year and is the only major tennis tournament to take place on the grass court. Since its establishment, Wimbledon maintains a strict dress code that requires all players to wear an all-white attire to compete.

In 2019, the prestigious tennis tournament instituted a new rule to end marathon matches. Wimbledon announced that matches reaching 12-12 in the final set will now go for tie-breaker to put an end to never-ending matches. Venus Williams became only the second African-American female winner in Wimbledon’s history.

2) US Open

US Open logoThe US Open is also one of the oldest established tennis tournaments in the world, having been founded in 1881 in New York City, New York. (There is also a US Open golf tournament, so don’t confuse it with the tennis tournament).

Since 1978, the tournament has been held on hardcourt surfaces (typically made of asphalt or concrete). Earlier matches were played first on grass and then on clay surfaces.

In addition to the standard events, the US Open also features competitions in junior, wheelchair and senior divisions. The US Open is the only major tennis tournament in the world to utilize the 12-12 tie-breaking scoring system for each set that enters a 6-6 tie, including the final one. In the Open era that began in 1968, Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras, and Roger Federer have won the most titles for the men’s singles, while Serena Williams and Chris Evert have held the most titles for the women’s singles.

3) French Open

French Open logoThe French Open is another one of the oldest and most prestigious tennis tournaments in the world. It was established in Paris in 1891. Their logo, bearing the name “Roland Garros,” refers to the Roland Garros complex of tennis courts, the home of the event. It is named after the pioneering French aviator Roland Garros (1888-1918).

Its early matches used to take place on the sandy court. But in 1908 the venue switched from sand to clay, and matches there have been held on the clay court ever since. It is also the only major tennis tournament to be played exclusively on clay surfaces.

The French Open has been generally held from May to June every year. It is the only tennis tournament in the world to utilize the advantage set the determine the victor of the match. Initially, the tournament was only open to French tennis players, but in 1925 it became open to all amateurs internationally after being designated as one of the “Big Four” tournaments.

4) Australian Open

Australian Open Logo

The Australian Open was established in 1905 in Melbourne. It is the first of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments held every year, preceding the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. From its year of establishment to 1987, the tournament took place on grass surfaces, but in 1988 it switched to hard court surfaces, which have been used since.

The event takes place in Melbourne over two weeks of January and features men’s and women’s singles, doubles, mixed doubles and wheelchair competitions.

In singles tournaments, players use the first to ten tie-breaker when the game score in the final set reaches 6-6. In mixed doubles events, players will figure in a tie-breaking match instead of a final set. Retired Australian player Margaret Court has the most singles titles with 11.