50 years of the Australian Open: how times have changed | Jonathan Howcroft

The contemporary experience of Australia’s most prestigious sporting event is a world away from that first tournament 50 years ago, but linkages remain

The defining match of the 1969 Australian Open was the first men’s singles semi-final. Over the course of four and a half hours, Rod Laver and Tony Roche traded blows in a 90-game marathon in temperatures pushing 40C. Laver’s writing collaborator Bud Collins later recalled both men keeping their cool in the punishing conditions by stuffing wet cabbage leaves underneath their cloth hats.

Related: 50 years of the Australian Open – in pictures

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