Why Was The Australian Open Women’s Singles Trophy Named The Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup?

With the first Grand Slam of the season almost coming to an end, let’s have a look at the history behind one of the two most coveted prizes in Melbourne Park. Most tennis fans are familiar with the name Daphne Akhurst because of the stunning silverware awarded to the winners of the women’s singles event at the Australian Open. However, little is known about Australia’s first female global tennis star. 

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Today, we’re going to take a deeper dive into the history behind the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup. Tennis was a sport that was played at a highly competitive level by Australian women during the early 20th century. But Daphne Akhurst’s influence on the game in Australia was on a different level.

The reason behind naming the Australian Open women’s singles trophy after Daphne Akhurst


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Daphne Akhurst was one of Australia’s most prominent figures in the sporting world in the era between 1900-1930. She not only played tennis but dominated it at a time when only a few women could step outside their homes and take part in sports. Daphne Akhurst had won 5 Australian singles titles and 9 Australian doubles titles between 1924 and 1931. She was the first Australian woman to reach the Top 10, ranking world number 3. Currently, she ranks third on the Australian all-time singles champion list. She is Australia’s most prolific champion of the era.

Daphne Akhurst won her last Australian title in 1931 at the doubles event. Two years later, she suffered an ectopic pregnancy and died aged 29. Since 1934, the trophy presented to the winner of the women’s singles at the AO is named the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Trophy.


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Akhurst was not only a great tennis player but also a gifted pianist with a formal qualification from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Akhurst also taught music and wrote columns for Sydney’s newspaper, ‘The Sun’. Even though she is mostly remembered through the trophy, it is evident that in her short lifespan, she could do a lot of amazing things. 

Every year ABC Bullion, the partner and official trophy manufacturer of the Australian Open, handcrafts the trophies of the tournament from 100% Australian Silver. Even the coveted replicas which are taken home by the winners are also made by ABC Bullion. This year’s trophies will feature precious metals sourced from Newmont’s Cadia mine. 


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Winners take home a replica of the actual trophy in the AO 

The Norman Brookes Challenge Cup is named after the late Sir Norman Brookes, who was a former Australian tennis champion. The winners of the men’s singles event receive a replica of the actual trophy. Although they are smaller in size, they take almost over 100 hours to complete. The Norman Brookes Challenge Cup is based on a large Roman marble vase that was excavated from the ruins of Emperor Hadrian’s villa outside Rome. The vase is known as the Warwick Vase. 

The winner of the women’s singles event receives a replica of the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup. Silver gilt was used to make the trophy which is 18 inches tall and 7.5 cm in diameter. The winner of the Australian Open gets to see their names imprinted on the trophy alongside the former champions.


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Novak Djokovic has won the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup for the highest number of times, as he has 10 Australian Open titles. While in the women’s singles event, Margaret Court leads the table with 11 titles at the Australian Open.

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