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Closing Notes: Australian Open 2011

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novak_djokovic1Australian Open 2011 saw a total of 651,127 fans flock to Melbourne Park, just short of the record attendance of 653,860 set last year. A record daily attendance was achieved on five days, including the first weekend and eve of Australia Day.

One of the strongest fields in Australian Open history came to play with all of the world's top 100 men and 98 of the top 100 women in the main draw. Thirteen Grand Slam tournament champions, including former Australian Open champions Rafael Nadal (ESP), Roger Federer (SUI), Novak Djokovic (SER), Justine Henin (BEL) and Russian starlet Maria Sharapova among the star-studded line-up.

 

More than 46 nations were represented among the 256 players in the main singles draw. There were 665 players in competition across all events, including 111 juniors, 21 wheelchair players and eight legends of the game.

In the men's final of Australian Open 2011·Novak Djokovic hoisted the·Norman Brooks Challenge Cup for the second time after defeating Andy Murray 6-4 6-3 6-2 at Rod Laver Arena tonight.

No.9 seed Li Na (CHN) created history as the first Chinese player in history to reach a Grand Slam final, but was outplayed by Kim Clijsters (BEL) who won her fourth major title and first Australian Open last night. Li Na captured the hearts of fans in Australia with her quirky sense of humour, with more than 1 billion people in China watching the women's final on TV.

Canadian rising star Milos Raonic recorded the fastest serve of the tournament at 230km/h and had a total of 94 aces, the highest of any male player at the Australian Open. Nadia Petrova (RUS) served 18 aces despite only reaching the third round, two ahead of quarterfinalist Petra Kvitova (CZE) and Venus Williams(USA).

The Canadian also set the record for having 46 racquets restrung during his run to the third round. The stringers restrung 3,492 racquets using 42.5km of string over the course of the tournament, equal to a return trip from Rod Laver Arena to Melbourne Airport!

A group of statisticians noted 461 challenges by players of which only 27% were overturned, with Henin the most successful with three calls overturned from her five challenges.

The Australian Open Junior Championships saw an Australian reach the final for the second consecutive year, with promising junior Luke Saville finishing runner-up after being defeated by world No.1 Jiri Vesely (CZE). Belgium enjoyed success in both the women's and girls' finals, with An-Sophie Mestach (BEL) claiming her maiden junior Grand Slam title.

Esther Vergeer (NED) continued her 407-match winning streak, claiming her eighth Australian Open Wheelchair Championships by defeating Australian star Daniela Di Toro, while Shingo Kunieda (JPN) successfully defended his men's title.

More than 49,000 Wilson tennis balls were ordered for the tournament, with proceeds from the sale of balls used in matches donated to the Australian Tennis Foundation.

The sixteen match courts used during the Australian Open were serviced by 80 staff who used 600 court towels to ensure court surfaces were perfectly prepared for each match. More than 3,000 white player towels were laundered daily and 2,500 official Australian Open towels were used in Rod Laver Arena, Hisense Arena and showcourts in Melbourne Park. In excess of 20 of these were reportedly 'stolen' by Roger Federer!

Fans enjoyed a selection of food and beverages, including 79,000 Aussie sausages, 100,000 healthy sandwiches, 80,000 pieces of sushi, 9,000 chicken schnitzels, and 35 tonnes of hot chips! In the exclusive Player Cafe, more than 79,000 kilograms of pasta and 7,000 portions of fish were served.

Players were transported by a fleet of 101 cars with more than 35,000 journeys made to and from Melbourne Park by 215 drivers. The fleet clocked up more than 400,000km, during which some of the world's top players participated in entertaining video interviews for the inaugural Open Drive initiative

On the eve of the Australian Open the tennis world united to support Rally for Relief, raising more than $2.4 million for the victims of the devastating floods around Australia.

The Australian Open welcomed more than 250,280 fans on Facebook and 27,000 followers on Twitter, and ‘Australian Open' was at one point the fourth highest trending discussion topic on Twitter worldwide.

Australian tennis legend, doubles champion Owen Davidson, was inducted into the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame on Australia Day, while Davis Cup and Grand Slam champion Frank Sedgman was honoured at the annual Legends Luncheon.

Photograph Copyright: Australian Open