Australian Open Press Release, October 11, 2023
An Opening Week packed with tennis, entertainment and fun, along with the stunning new AO Courtside Bar, are just some of the Australian Open’s big and bold plans to bring fans closer to the action than ever before.
Introduced in 2023, Opening Week was designed to solidify the AO as a three-week festival of sport and entertainment. For AO 2024 it will be even bigger and better, offering an expanded program of events and more opportunities for fans to get closer to their heroes as they prepare for the first Grand Slam of the year.
“We are looking forward to a three-week extravaganza of tennis and entertainment, with Opening Week bringing fans closer to the action than ever and giving unprecedented access to the top players as we lead into an historic Sunday start,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley explained.
“During Opening Week fans can sit in the front row of Rod Laver Arena and watch the world’s best players prepare for the AO, wander the site and see the talent of tomorrow fighting through qualifying matches on the outdoor courts, and enjoy a taste of all the fun and excitement that makes the AO different.
“Thousands of racquets will be given away to kids and families, the hugely popular Kids Tennis Day presented by Emirates returns on Saturday 13 January, and stay tuned for more news soon on a series of exhibition and charity matches with big name players.”
The tradition of creating spectacular and unique experiences for players and fans continues, with Melbourne Park once again redesigned for AO 2024.
“We’re very excited to launch the AO Courtside Bar, a double-storey structure overlooking Court 6 with a capacity of more than 400. We expect this will quickly become known as the ‘party court’, and it’s a model we’d like to expand further across the site in future.
“Increasing shade across the precinct has been an important part of our strategy for many years and we’ve upped it exponentially for next January. Just as this year we introduced the stunning ‘butterfly wings’ shade structure on Grand Slam Oval, in 2024 we’ll again double the shade onsite with the installation of elegant pavilions set across the iconic lawns of Garden Square, providing a relaxing and comfortable space for everyone.
“Sunday 14 January will be a blockbuster day and night, featuring the best of Melbourne as the AO kicks off on a Sunday for the first time. Special performances will be staged before the night session at RLA and we look forward to providing a stunning showcase for our great city.
“As always, we look forward to honouring our Aussie tennis legends throughout the AO. Evonne Goolagong Cawley celebrates 50 years since her first AO win in 1974 and her image will feature on the coin used before matches at the AO and all Summer of Tennis events across January. Roy Emerson will be back for the 60th anniversary of his third Australian Open title in 1964, and we are delighted to announce that Lleyton Hewitt will be inducted into the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame at a special ceremony prior to the night session on Wednesday 24 January.
“Accessibility is a priority – we want everyone to be able to come and join in the fun at the AO, whether it’s sampling world-class tennis while watching the top players practicing during Opening Week, taking advantage of the great-value Ground Pass throughout the tournament, or joining in special celebrations on First Nations Day, Pride Day and All Abilities Day. There’s truly something for everyone at AO 2024.”
The AO three-weeks of tennis and entertainment includes:
- EXPANDED OPENING WEEK, including AO Qualifying, daily Open Practice sessions in Rod Laver Arena, four star-studded exhibition and charity matches, thousands of racquets given away to kids, and the return of Kids Tennis Day on Saturday 13 January.
- HISTORIC SUNDAY 14 JANUARY START, with all the main draw action commencing at 11am on JCA and the outdoor courts, 12pm at RLA and MCA and night sessions at RLA and MCA commence at 7pm..
- AO COURTSIDE BAR, destined to become the place to see and be seen at the AO, the two-storey viewing structure overlooks Court 6 will feature a delicious drinks menu including the AO’s signature non-alcoholic cocktail, DJs and live entertainment along with all the tennis action.
- NEW LOOK GARDEN SQUARE, with elegant pavilions providing thousands of square metres of additional shade, making the tennis and entertainment more comfortable and enjoyable for fans.
- AO SUPERSTORE at Centrepiece is the flagship store where you can ‘shop ‘til you drop’ for the biggest-ever range of AO merchandise.
- QUAD WHEELCHAIR DRAW EXPANDED from eight players to 16, matching the 16-draw men’s and women’s open wheelchair events.
- FINALS FESTIVAL over four days, expanding into John Cain Arena from Thursday 25 to Sunday 28 January – stay tuned for the line-up announcement featuring top local and international music artists.