The Aus­tralian Open

World-class ten­nis, food and mu­sic await vis­i­tors to this year’s Aus­tralian Open held at Mel­bourne Park from 15 to 28 Jan­uary. By Jenny Burns

Where Melbourne - - Contents -

FOR TEN­NIS LOVERS the Aus­tralian Open is a chance to see all the world’s top play­ers bat­tling it out to win the first Grand Slam tour­na­ment of the year.

For those who like to mix their ten­nis with a gourmet treat or two and live mu­sic, there are more op­tions than ever be­fore.

Award-win­ning and in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed restau­rants Rock­pool Din­ing Group and Nobu have set up ‘out­posts’ at this year’s Open. Other well known ‘names’ dish­ing up treats in­clude Ma­m­a­sita, Gazi, San An­tone, Gin­ger Boy, Hunky Dory and Big­gie Smalls.

A num­ber of these food out­lets are lo­cated within Mel­bourne Park’s Grand Slam Oval which cel­e­brates the Grand Slam cities of the world—paris, Lon­don, New York and Mel­bourne to­gether with Tokyo.

A num­ber of other out­lets have been set up in the AO Fes­ti­val area and Mid­dle Ter­race which are lo­cated in Bir­rarung Marr, the park­land which ad­joins Mel­bourne Park. While en­try to the AO Fes­ti­val area is free, you’ll need an Aus­tralian Open ticket for Mid­dle Ter­race, which is also host­ing the AO Live Stage, the site of the Open’s daily mu­sic ex­trav­a­ganza. Lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional acts such as Amer­i­can girl group TLC, Bris­bane band The Jun­gle Gi­ants, ris­ing star Vera Blue, ARIA award-win­ners Bliss n Eso, Tina Arena, Meg Mac, the Hoodoo Gu­rus, Client Li­ai­son and Daryl Braith­waite, are all tak­ing to the stage here.

This year’s Open also of­fers plenty to keep young­sters amused. The Ball­park is a mini theme park and as a re­sult of a deal with Dis­ney some of the world’s most loved char­ac­ters will be pro­moted here dur­ing the tour­na­ment. The area also fea­tures LEGO and NERF ex­pe­ri­ences to­gether with a 60-me­tre zi­pline. At the spe­cially de­signed ANZ Ten­nis Hot Shots courts kids can pick up a rac­quet, test their skills and have fun play­ing ten­nis. There’s also a Kids Ten­nis Day on Satur­day 13 Jan­uary. Of course for most vis­i­tors to the Aus­tralian Open it’s the ten­nis that’s the main at­trac­tion and with the world’s top play­ers all ex­pected to play com­pe­ti­tion is sure to be fierce. As pre­vi­ous tour­na­ments have shown, only the ex­tremely brave would ever tip the win­ner. And that’s one of the joys of the tour­na­ment—the many play­ers who sud­denly ap­pear on the radar. Many of those play­ers start their jour­neys in the tour­na­ment on the back courts of Mel­bourne Park, which is why for many fans the first week is the best. While the matches may not be as even as the sec­ond week, wan­der­ing around the courts, watch­ing the many matches on of­fer and the play­ers train­ing are great ex­pe­ri­ences. To­gether with the cur­rent crop of play­ers there’s also the chance to see the leg­ends of the game, the top ju­niors and wheel­chair play­ers in ac­tion. A num­ber of the play­ers com­pet­ing in the Open are also play­ing in the 2018 Price­line Phar­macy Kooy­ong Clas­sic from 9 to 12 Jan­uary. Held at the pre­vi­ous home of the Aus­tralian Open, Kooy­ong Lawn Ten­nis Club, the Clas­sic is used by the play­ers as a warm up for the Open.

For more in­for­ma­tion and tick­ets for the Kooy­ong Clas­sic visit kooy­ong­clas­sic.com.au and the Aus­tralian Open visit au­sopen.com

Photo: Ten­nis Aus­tralia.

TLC.

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