The 2023 tennis season is officially underway with the world’s most famed players descending upon Melbourne Park to contest the Australian Open. Now regarded as one of the biggest sporting events in the southern hemisphere with fans travelling from afar to see their favourites, The Australian Open has put Melbourne on the sports world map. First Held in 1905, originally on a grass court, The Australian Open kicks off the tennis season every year, giving players the opportunity to lay strong foundations for the season ahead. For the last 15 years, Rolex has been along for the ride as the Official Timekeeper and the relationship between the two is only set to strengthen and grow.
Rolex has forever had a long relationship with the sport, first partnering with The Championships, Wimbledon – the sport’s oldest and most revered tournament back in 1978. Now, 45 years on Rolex has forged links with the four Grand Slam tournaments, all major events in the men’s and women’s game and the leading international team competitions.
A figurehead and role model for multiple generations of tennis players, Rod Laver, who also has the centre court in Melbourne Park named in his honour, spoke about how special this year’s Australian Open is. “Melbourne is such a special place for the opening act of the Grand Slam season. It has witnessed some of the greatest contests in the history of our sport and I consider it a privilege to have been able to play in some of them. The 2023 tournament promises to be particularly exciting with a strong draw and full-capacity crowds expected at Melbourne Park. I am really looking forward to watching the world’s leading players battle it out in my home major.”
Not stopping at just being the Offical Timekeeper, Rolex also has a vast list of tennis ambassadors paving the way. Leading the Rolex family this year is 21-year-old Iga Świątek who will be seeking to improve on her previous semi-final appearance and add to her Grand Slam title tally after triumphs at Roland-Garros (2020, 2022) and the US Open (2022).
Joining Iga as Rolex Testimonees this season are heavy-weight hitters Caroline Garcia, who wrapped up the 2022 season with her biggest career victory at the WTA Finals. Cori Gauff and Taylor Fritz, who both made their top ten debuts in the singles rankings in 2022 and Stéfanos Tsitsipás who earned his fourth consecutive Nitto ATP Finals qualification last November. A three-time semi-finalist, the Greek World No. 3 explains why The Australian Open is coined “the Happy Sam.” “Whenever I come here, I feel a great affinity with the people. They provide so much support – in tennis that helps a lot. People come and support me annually, which is a great thing. It’s called the ‘Happy Slam’ for a reason.”