The highest ever day/night attendance in Grand Slam history was recorded three times during the first week of the Australian Open, on Wednesday 21 January, Friday 23 January and Saturday 24 January. The new record of 66,018 was set on Saturday 24 January.
A star-studded men's and women's singles draw included eight men's Grand Slam champions and six women's Grand Slam champions and 31 of the top 32 men and 29 of the top 32 women. A total of 46 nations were represented in the singles main draws (34 countries in the men's singles and 38 countries in the women's singles.)
The tournament saw American Serena Williams win her fourth Australian Open title and a dream final line up in the men’s draw, with the world No.1 Rafael Nadal battling it out with World No.2 Roger Federer for the first Grand Slam title of the year.
Aussie Jelena Dokic enjoyed a remarkable return to form and run at this year’s Australian Open. Having secured her place in the main draw by winning the Australian Open Play-off in December, the former World No.4 put her troubled past behind her to win the hearts of the Australian public and a place in the quarter-finals. Dokic enjoyed wins over two top 20 players en route, before losing in three close sets to World No.3 Dinara Safina, improving her world ranking from No.187 to a projected spot within the top 100.
Australian Open 2009 saw superb TV audience figures, highlighted with the 2.315 million viewers across the five major metropolitan markets tuning into Channel Seven’s coverage of the tournament on the second Tuesday night.
Entertaining the crowds were some of Australia’s top music acts including Vanessa Amorosi, Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Mental as Anything, Black Sorrows, Daryl Braithwaite and Pete Murray.
Over the fortnight fans devoured 12,204 meat pies, 18,417 hot dogs, 12,892 ice cream cones, 171,166 bottles of Evian water, 80,000 bottles of Heineken and 225,000 draught cups. There were 25 kitchens operating with 175 kitchen staff and over 1,500 food and beverage staff.
Those who couldn’t get along in person made sure they kept in touch through the official website www.australianopen.com powered by IBM. At the close of play on Day 13, 7.6 million different people had already visited the official Australian Open website, up by one million on last year’s figures for the same time. To date they have made over 35 million visits to the web site.
Favourite player profiles among the fans on www.australianopen.com saw world No.1 Rafael Nadal and this year’s women’s champion Serena Williams top the poll ahead of Roger Federer and Dinara Safina. Andy Roddick leads the men’s competition for aces served at 87, with Serena Williams topping the women’s at 42.
The fastest serves of the tournament were recorded by Australia’s Sam Groth (230km/h) while Sabine Lisicki topped the women’s fastest serves (196km/h). Helping the players serve were the racquet stringers who strung more than 3,400 racquets using over 40 km worth of string, with the fastest racquet strung in just 14 minutes.
1733 members of the media (broadcast, print & radio) were accredited at Australian Open 2008 (785 international, 948 Australian).
And making it all happen behind the scenes were over 4,500 members of staff, including 337 Aviva Ballkids, 365 umpires, 220 Kia courtesy car drivers, 65 court services and operations staff, 80 retail staff and 55 statisticians. A fleet of 85 official cars supplied by the tournament’s major sponsor Kia Motors made in excess of 40,000 journeys transporting players to and from Melbourne Park, clocking up more than 312,000 km.
Famous faces watching the action included Eric Bana, Dannii Minogue, Ben Cousins, Shane Warne, Anthony Callea, Daniel McPherson, Shayne Reese, Stephanie Rice and Kate Ceberano.
Garnier World in Garden Square attracted more than 28,500 people through its doors, with 2,186 patrons visiting on the busiest day. Over the fortnight 68 members of Garnier staff provided 9,800 mini facials, 11,200 hair styles and 7,000 massages and used 43,000 bobby pins, 400 hairsprays, 350 hair waxes and putties.
The most popular item from the Australian Open retail shop was the official player towel with 16,801 sold at Melbourne Park and online (includes four different towel types and designs). In addition 2,692 Wilson Australian Open jumbo tennis balls were sold.