The Australian Open is the first of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments held each year. The tournament is held in the last fortnight of the month of January at the famous Melbourne Park. The tournament was held for the first time in 1905 and was last contested on grass in 1987. Since 1988, the tournament has been held on hard courts at Melbourne Park. Mats Wilander is the only player to win the tournament on both grass and hard courts.
Like all other Grand Slam tournaments, there are men's and women's singles competitions; men's, women's, and mixed doubles; and junior's, wheelchair, exhibition, and legends' competitions.
The two main courts used in the tournament are Rod Laver Arena and Hisense Arena and feature retractable roofs, which are shut during rain or extreme heat. The Australian Open and Wimbledon are the only Grand Slam tournaments with indoor play.
Held in the middle of the Australian summer, the Australian Open can have extremely hot days. An extreme-heat policy is put into play when temperatures reach dangerous levels.
The Australian Open typically has very high attendance, with the 2010 Australian Open achieving the highest ever single-day day/night attendance record for any Grand Slam tournament of 77,043 and an overall attendance of 653,860.
In 2008, the Rebound Ace surface, which had been in place for the past 20 years at Melbourne Park, was replaced by a cushioned, medium-paced, acrylic surface known as Plexicushion Prestige. Roger Federer and Serena Williams are the only players to win the Australian Open on both Rebound Ace and Plexicushion Prestige. The main benefits of the new surface are better consistency and less retention of heat because of a thinner top layer. This change was accompanied by changes in the surfaces of all lead-up tournaments to the Australian Open. The change was controversial because of the new surface's similarity to DecoTurf, the surface used by the US Open.
The singles winners in 2010 were Federer and Serena Williams. In men's doubles, the winners were Bob and Mike Bryan, and in women's doubles, the winners were Serena and Venus Williams - the second time in history and the second consecutive year that both Australian Open doubles titles were won by siblings. In mixed doubles, the winners were Cara Black and Leander Paes.