Tennis Top 5: Men with the most Australian Open singles titles
As the 2024 Australian Open moves into its latter stages, we wanted to look back at some of the most successful male singles players from over the years at the Grand Slam down under.
Here are the six players with the most men’s singles titles in the history of the Australian Open:
4=. Jack Crawford (4 titles)
This list begins in 1931 with Jack Crawford, who is alongside two other players with four Australian Open singles titles.
Crawford’s first major title came when he was 22-years-old, when the tournament was known as the Australian Championships and was played on grass.
With it being very early on into the Amateur Era, every player in the 1931 men’s singles draw was Australian, with Crawford as the top seed.
At this stage, Crawford had already won two Australian Championships doubles titles alongside Harry Hopman, but had not reached the final of the singles tournament.
However, that all changed in 1931, as Crawford sailed into the final and dropped only one set on the way.
In the final, Crawford would play that of his aforementioned doubles partner Hopman, who he would beat in four sets to win his first Grand Slam singles title.
They would lose the doubles final together, but Crawford managed to get his hands on the mixed doubles title with his wife Marjorie Cox Crawford.
Jack Crawford would go onto win the Australian Championships title in 1932, beating Hopman in the final again, and 1933 in the most successful season of his career.
In this final, Crawford was bidding to become the first man in history to complete the Calendar Grand Slam, but fell short in a five set defeat to Fred Perry.
Crawford’s final Australian Championships singles title came in 1935, where he would enact revenge over Perry after three Grand Slam final defeats to the Brit.
— LTA (@the_LTA) January 27, 2021
He would go onto reach the final again in 1936 and 1940, but could not add to his decorated trophy cabinet on these occasions.
4=. Ken Rosewall (4 titles)
The next player with four Australian Open titles is Ken Rosewall, who is the only player in this list to have triumphed at the major tournament in both the Amateur and Open Era.
Rosewall won his first Australian Championships when he was only 18-years-old, in his third appearance at his home Grand Slam.
The Australian comfortably beat top seed Mervyn Rose in the final, 6-0 6-3 6-4, to become the youngest men’s singles champion at the tournament.
He was unable to replicate this in 1954, with Rose getting revenge in a five-set match in the semi-finals.
However, Rosewall returned to Melbourne the following year in impressive fashion and dropped only one set en route to his second Australian Championships singles crown.
Rosewall failed to defend his title once again in 1956, being beaten in the final by compatriot and top seed Lew Hoad.
After winning the US Championships at the end of the year, Rosewall was part of a select group of players who elected to become professional and was therefore unable to compete at Grand Slam tournaments until the Open Era began in 1968.
Rosewall won the first Open Era major tournament at Roland Garros, but did not return to the Australian Open final until 1971.
With top seed Rod Laver facing a shock third round defeat, Rosewall capitalised and beat Arthur Ashe to claim his third Australian Open title and first without dropping a set.
On this day: in 1971 Ken Rosewall defeats Arthur Ashe 6-1 7-5 6-3 in the last #AusOpen final played outside Melbourne, at White City, Sydney. Rosewall’s third Australian title, at age 36, came an astonishing 16 years since his second, as a 20-year-old in 1955. #50YearsOpen pic.twitter.com/LW7M8H5R5C
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 13, 2018
At 37-years-old, Rosewall finally defended his home major in 1972 and stands as the oldest Australian Open men’s singles champion.
Rosewall is also the player to have the largest gap between their first and last Australian Open singles title, with 19 years between the two successes.
4=. Andre Agassi (4 titles)
Andre Agassi is the third and final man to hold four Australian Open singles titles, but he actually did not play at the tournament for the first eight years of his career!
The American’s first trip down under came in 1995 and it was a roaring success, as he cruised to his sixth Grand Slam final without dropping a set.
The then 24-year-old would play top seed and defending champion Pete Sampras in the final, with Agassi fighting back after losing the first set to win his first Australian Open title and third Grand Slam.
Agassi was unable to defend his Australian Open title in 1996 and did not reach the final of the Melbourne major again until 2000.
This route to the final was less comfortable, with world No.1 Agassi having to fight from two-sets-to-one down against aforementioned rival Sampras in the semi-final.
In his fourth consecutive Grand Slam final, Agassi would play second seed Yevgeny Kafelnikov and he beat the Russian, 3-6 6-3 6-2 6-4.
Agassi would defend the Australian Open title for the first time in 2001, despite dropping down the rankings after some relatively poor Grand Slam results at the other three majors.
As the sixth seed, he dropped only one set en route to the semi-final, where he would play home favourite Pat Rafter.
Rafter was only one set away from victory, before struggling with cramp, to which Agassi capitalised and beat the Australian in what turned out to be his final match at his home Grand Slam.
It was a more routine victory in the final for Agassi, who beat surprise finalist Arnaud Clement in straight sets to claim his third title in Melbourne.
The final Australian Open title of Agassi’s career came in 2003, having missed out the previous year through injury.
At 32-years-old, Agassi dropped only one set en route to the final, where he would beat 31st seed Rainer Schuettler in straight sets.
Not only was this his final Australian Open title, but it was also the final Grand Slam triumph of his decorated career.
Although Agassi elected not to travel for the tournament in the early stages of his career, the Grand Slam down under ended up being his most successful.
Unsurprisingly, the American has since admitted his ‘regrets’ of not participating at the tournament more in his 20-year career.
2=. Roy Emerson (6 titles)
Taking a step back to the Amateur Era is where we find Roy Emerson, who won a total of six Australian Championship singles titles.
Having suffered an agonising five set semi-final defeat to eventual champion Rod Laver in 1960, Emerson bounced back to create a rematch with his compatriot in the 1961 final.
Both players had not dropped a single set en route to this final, so something had to give, and it was Laver who took the opening set before Emerson fought back to beat the top seed and claim his first Grand Slam singles title.
Laver took revenge over Emerson in the 1962 final, before he turned professional and could therefore not compete at the majors until 1968.
Emerson decided not to turn professional and certainly took advantage of Laver’s absence, claiming the Australian Championship title every year from 1963-1967.
Not only did Emerson dominate the singles event, but he also won three doubles titles with Neale Fraser, Fred Stolle and the aforementioned Laver.
2=. Roger Federer (6 titles)
Roger Federer matched the legendary Emerson in 2018, with the Swiss’ six titles coming over a much longer 14-year period.
Having won his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2003, Federer headed into the 2004 Australian Open as the second seed, knowing that he would become world No.1 with a title.
And Federer did just that, reaching his first final in Melbourne before beating former No.1 Marat Safin in straight sets to claim his maiden Australian Open crown.
Safin got revenge in the 2005 semi-finals, despite Federer having match points, but it was not long before he would be succeeding in Melbourne once again.
In 2006 Federer entered the Australian Open as the top seed, and managed to battle his way into the final against the unseeded Cypriot, Marcos Baghdatis.
The world No.1 had won their three previous meetings and that head-to-head showed, with Federer beating Baghdatis in four sets to claim his second Australian Open title.
He would go onto defend the Melbourne major for the first time in 2007, in by far his most comfortable Australian Open campaign.
That year Federer became the second man to win the Australian Open without dropping a set, joining Ken Rosewall after triumphing in the final against Chilean Fernando Gonzalez.
Although Federer managed to reach at least the semi-final of the tournament until 2014, he only won another title in this time.
The Swiss was beaten in a five set classic final by rival Rafael Nadal in 2009, but returned the following year with avengence.
Defending champion Nadal had retired in the quarter-final with a right knee injury, to which Federer took advantage and beat Andy Murray in a straight sets victory in the final.
Federer’s next Australian Open title did not come until seven years later, after undergoing knee surgery the year prior.
As the 17th seed, Federer survived tests from the likes of Kei Nishikori and compatriot Stan Wawrinka to return to the final in Melbourne.
The then 35-year-old would play Nadal in the final once again in another five set classic, but this time it was Federer that got the better of the Spaniard to win his first Grand Slam title since 2012.
Federer won his final Grand Slam and Australian Open title the following year, reaching the final without dropping a single set.
Marin Cilic would be Federer’s opponent, in a rematch of the 2017 Wimbledon final, and the latter outlasted the Croatian in another five set final.
As a result, Federer claimed his sixth Australian Open title and became the first man to win 20 Grand Slam singles titles.
Roger Federer signing off ✍️
Thanks for the magic! pic.twitter.com/qr9Wbw9JTf
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) September 23, 2022
1. Novak Djokovic (10 titles)
The only active player in this list and the clear frontrunner is Novak Djokovic, who has won an astounding 10 Australian Open titles in his incredible career.
Djokovic began his reign in Melbourne in 2008, reaching his first final without dropping a set, that included ending the 21-match tournament winning streak of Roger Federer in the semi-final.
He would play fellow first-time Australian Open finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final, and bounced back from losing the first set to claim his first ever Grand Slam title.
However, the Serbian could not defend the title and made two consecutive quarter-final appearances in 2009 and 2010.
Djokovic did regain the Australian Open title in 2011, dropping only a single set in his second round match against Ivan Dodig and went onto beat Andy Murray in the final.
It was less comfortable for Djokovic in 2012, having to overcome five set thrillers with Murray and Rafael Nadal in the semi-final and final, respectively.
The iconic final with Nadal lasted a total of five hours and 53 minutes, which is the longest Grand Slam final in history.
Djokovic’s toughest match at the 2013 Australian Open came in the fourth round against 15th seed Stan Wawrinka, in another thrilling match that lasted over five hours and finished 12-10 in the decider.
In the final, Djokovic beat Murray once again, enabling him to claim his third consecutive title in Melbourne.
Wawrinka inflicted revenge on Djokovic the following year, but it would not be long until the world No.1 would regain his dominance once again.
The Djokovic-Wawrinka Australian Open rivalry continued in 2015, with the former winning the five set semi-final on this occasion before beating Murray in the final.
It would be a historic sixth title in Melbourne for Djokovic in 2016, inflicting more Australian Open pain on Murray with a fourth tournament final victory over the Brit.
Surprisingly, Djokovic failed to surpass the fourth round in either of the next two years, but regained his stranglehold of the Grand Slam down under in 2019.
It was in this year that Djokovic would become the most successful man at the tournament in history with a record seventh title, which would be extended in 2020 and 2021.
However, controversy struck in 2022 when Djokovic was deported from Melbourne due to his Covid-19 vaccination status and was unable to play the tournament.
Despite this setback, Djokovic returned to the Australia the following year, after rules were changed, and continued as he left off.
Djokovic dropped a single set en route to the final, where he would beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets to claim a historic and emotional 10th Australian Open title.
The 36-year-old was unable to extend his dominance this year, after losing in his first ever semi-final at the tournament to eventual champion Jannik Sinner.
Top 5: Men with the most Australian Open titles in the Open Era
With the previous list focussing on the entire history of the Australian Open, we at Tennishead also wanted to make a seperate one since the tournament became professional in 1969:
1. Novak Djokovic (10 titles)
2. Roger Federer (6 titles)
3. Andre Agassi (4 titles)
4. Mats Wilander (3 titles)
5. Rafael Nadal, Pete Sampras, Ken Rosewall, Boris Becker, Jim Courier, Stefan Edberg, Johan Kriek, Ivan Lendl, John Newcombe & Guillermo Vilas (2 titles)
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