The first Australian Open men's singles title was played in 1905. The first Australian Open women's singles title was played in 1922. Except between 1977 and 1986, the Australian Open usually played in January of each year. In the Australian bicentennial year (1988), the Australian Open changed its venue from Kooyong (played on grass) to the inaugural National Tennis Center (on Rebound Ace, composed of polyurethane and synthetic rubber) situated on the banks of Melbourne's Yarra River.
In 1982, Chris Evert won her career Grand Slam at the Australian Open, "I have wanted this tournament so badly. The Australian title has been the missing link in my career." In 1994, Steffi Graf won her second Grand Slam of tennis at the Australian Open. The Associated Press reported Steffi took only 6 hours and 23 minutes to win all her 7 matches during the 14-day event. And in 2003, Serena Williams won her Grand Slam of tennis at the Australian Open. Margaret Court acknowledged, "Serena has earned her place in history." The term "Grand Slam" was said originated in 1930 when Bobby Jones won the 4 major golf championships.
Rebound Ace was Australian-made and manufactured and designed for the professional game by reducing fatigue with in-built cushioning. Paul McNamee explained, "...Rebound Ace, a rubberized court, medium-paced with a lowish bounce for a hardcourt surface. It is fair to all players, serve-volley and baseline opponents alike...The move from grass to an artificial surface opens the way for night tennis at the Australian Open for the first time...The engineering masterpiece of the Tennis Center is the sliding roof, such a practical innovation given Melbourne's changeable weather...When rain is imminent and the roof is brought across to cover Center Court, the transition is made from an outdoor to an indoor court."
In the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in 1996, Chanda Rubin defeated Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in the longest match at the time, 3 hours and 33 minutes, in Australian Open history. The night match also broke the Australian Open women's records for the most games in a match (48, three sets) and most games in a set (30, deciding set). Chanda and Arantxa hit over 3000 shots to win the total of 325 points. Chanda had 68 winners to Arantxa's 34 but 96 unforced errors to Arantxa's 48.
Night tennis, Paul pointed out in 1988, "...from a player's point of view, can create scheduling problems. You may play last at night and then be required to play late the following morning as players are entitled to a minimum of only 12 hours' break between matches on consecutive days. This is often insufficient time to recover in a Grand Slam format of 5-set matches (for the men's). The demands of scheduling also helps to explain why so few top (male) players participate in the doubles in major events."