Tennis Australia has at present taken a special initiative to promote professionalism in the game and also to give birth to more and more successful tennis players, but tennis is popular with most Australians from a very early age. Children at school are taught the game for the sake of health and later encouraged to adopt it as a sport by professional coaches. Lawn tennis was encouraged in Australia, as a result of which tennis fields were coated with grass. However, the 20th century saw sand, concrete and clay as artificial and better alternatives to grass. Tennis Australia has recently introduced synthetic grass and now all fields in the country is surfaced with synthetic grass which is undoubtedly more durable.
A professional level tennis match was first played at the Melbourne cricket club in 1880, which was also the first tennis match to be ever played within the country. Australian tennis was first put under the administration of the Australasian Lawn Tennis Association, the first organized body responsible for administering tennis in Australia. Australasia Lawn Tennis Association was responsible for administering tennis activities in the whole of the Australian continent and as such New Zealand was included within its purview. Ever since its inception in 1904, the ALTA has been responsible for organizing 3 main tennis championships within the country, namely the Davis Cup, to oversee tennis matches between different states of Australia and to organize the Australasian Tennis Championships.
The Davis Cup has always remained a strong point of all Australian tennis players and the country's record in the championship is quite noteworthy. Australia started its success saga in the Davis Cup in the year 1907 and uptil 2003 the country has been able to secure 28 Davis Cup titles. Davis cup is the name given to the international tournament for men, while its counterpart for international women's game is called the Federation Cup. Australia has been able to garner the Federation Cup title 7 times, the latest being in 1974. The popularity of tennis is so widespread in Australia that Australian tennis players are sometimes hero-worshiped in the country. Any Australian tennis player, who has been able to achieve the maximum success in a single tennis year, receives the Young Australian of the year Award. The latest recipient of this ward has been Lleyton Hewitt, the number one tennis player of 2003. Among women, Evonne Goolagong Cawley has been the recipient of this award in 1971.
Australia has produced some outstanding tennis players in the past and continue to do so. Some such players have been Rod Laver and Margaret Smith Court. In the 4 Grand Slams that take place year round, the Australian Open is a very significant tournament. The tournament started in 1905 under the name of the Australasian Open and has till date given birth to many successful men and women tennis players. Australian men have won 51 singles titles in the tournament while women have till date won 43 singles titles.