The first tournaments of the Australasian Championships suffered from the competition of the other Australasian tournaments. Before 1905, all Australian states and New Zealand had their own championships, the first organised in 1880 in Melbourne and called the Championship of the Colony of Victoria (later the Championship of Victoria). In those years, the best two players – Australian Norman Brookes (whose name is now written on the men's singles cup) and New Zealander Anthony Wilding – almost did not play this tournament. Brookes took part once and won in 1911, and Wilding entered and won the competition twice (1906 and 1909). Their meetings in the Victorian Championships (or at Wimbledon) helped to determine the best Australasian players. Even when the Australasian Championships were held in Hastings, New Zealand, in 1912, Wilding, though three times Wimbledon champion, did not come back to his home country. It was a recurring problem for all players of the era. Brookes went to Europe only three times, where he reached the Wimbledon Challenge Round once and then won Wimbledon twice. Thus, many players had never played the Austral(as)ian amateur or open championships: the Doherty brothers, William Larned, Maurice McLoughlin, Beals Wright, Bill Johnston, Bill Tilden, René Lacoste, Henri Cochet, Bobby Riggs, Jack Kramer, Ted Schroeder, Pancho Gonzales, Budge Patty, and others, while Brookes, Ellsworth Vines, Jaroslav Drobný, came just once. Even in the 1960s and 1970s, when travel was less difficult, leading players such as Manuel Santana, Jan Kodeš, Manuel Orantes, Ilie Năstase (who only came once, when 35 years old) and Björn Borg came rarely or not at all.
Novak Djokovic greets fans, Royal Botanical Gardens, 28 January 2019. Photo: Ben Solomon/Tennis Australia