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Australian Open 2016 smashed by bumper Twenty20 and summer cricket ratings

Forget the Melbourne Cup. It's the Australian Open which stops the nation.

But how many of us actually tune in to watch the likes of Federer, Djokovic​ and Williams battle it out on the court?

It may not be as many as you think. In fact, it turns out more of us are sitting in front of the TV to watch the cricket than the tennis.

Ratings figures from January show cricket remains a far more popular sport, with nearly one million more people tuning it to watch the Australian cricket team slog it out with India in their limited-overs series.

On Tuesday night, an average of 1.7 million tuned in nationwide to watch Australia's Twenty20 loss to India on Channel Nine.


This peaked at a staggering 2.3 million.

Over at Seven, an average of 936,000 people watched Novak Djokovic​ dominate Kei Nishikori. This peaked at 1.55 million.

Obviously tennis is a day-long affair, and this is reflected in the 4.37 million people who watched the Australian Open at some point during the Australia Day public holiday.

But faced with a sporting alternative, ratings indicate more people are switching over to the Twenty20 or one-day international series.

On Saturday night, ratings for the series-ending one-dayer peaked at 2.27 million, with an average of 1.41 million, according to Nine.

Ratings for the Australian Open on the same night peaked at 1.7 million, with an average of 1.27 million, according to Seven.

It's been a similar story in years past. In 2014, tennis ratings were also thumped by the cricket.

Back then, the Australian Open's most-watched match in the cities was 1.06 million when Roger Federer took on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a fourth round clash.

The international series notched up 1.64 million viewers when Australia took on England in game 1.

Fast forward to 2015, and the Big Bash League is also carving a following of its own over on Ten, attracting a national average session 2 audience of 1.13 million.

The Australian Open final however continues to be one of the biggest events on the television calendar, and shows no signs of shrinking.

Last year, an average of 2.5 million people nationwide tuned in to see Novak Djokovic​ claim his fifth Australian Open title.

In 2014, 2.14 million Australians watched Stan Wawrinka​ topple Rafael Nadal​.