The biggest names in tennis are returning to Melbourne, Australia in the last fortnight of January for the first of the four Grand Slam tennis events of the year – the Australian Open.
If you’re heading to the Aussie sporting capital of Melbourne this month to catch your biggest tennis heroes in action, we’ve put together a little guide to help you on your way. Even better, our 24 Hours In Melbourne article is full of top things to do and see in the city, so you can fully make the most of being in Australia’s second biggest city.
The Australian Open takes place between 15-28 January this year, and spectators are treated to men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s mixed doubles, junior championships, plus wheelchair, legends and exhibition events. The matches are held across three primary courts – Rod Laver Arena, Hisense Arena and Margaret Court Arena, and thanks to the retractable roofs of the stadiums, the Australian Open was the first Grand Slam event to feature indoor matches for wet weather and extreme heat, so no matter the weather (especially as Melbourne is known for four seasons in a day!), you’re set for some world-class tennis.
Defending champion Roger Federer and world number one Rafael Nadal are preparing for more success this Australian summer, while former number one Novak Djokovic along with Stan Wawrinka, who were sidelined during 2017 due to injury, have confirmed they’ll return in fighting form for the Australian Open 2018. The Australian Open kicks off 15 January, preceding the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open to make up the four Grand Slam titles.
The AO Live Stage returns to the Australian Open, with 15 consecutive days of fantastic live music. Aussie pop star Tina Arena will take to the stage to headline the women’s singles grand final on 27 January. Joining her on the entertainment bill are girl-group TLC, Australian music heavyweight Jimmy Barnes, Aussie hip-hop superstars Bliss N Eso, The Jungle Giants, Hoodoo Gurus and other much loved Australian music acts. The AO Live Stage is held at nearby Birrarung Marr and opens 5pm weekdays and 3pm weekends. You’ll need a ground pass ticket to join in the festivities.
Melbourne is known as Australia’s sporting capital and is the host city for the Australian Open.
The Australian Open is great fun for kids of all ages. The AO Ballpark, a mini on-site theme park, will return for 2018, and entry is free with your Australian Open ticket. Kids Tennis Day will be held on 13 January where kids will love the action-packed day of activities and enjoy the Rod Laver Arena Spectacular with top tennis stars and music acts.
For parents with young children, baby change facilities are also available at the following locations: Rod Laver Arena – male and female toilets near doors 3, 8, 9 and 13 Margaret Court Arena – accessible toilets on level two Hisense Arena – accessible toilets on the ground level concourse. You’ll also find a dedicated parent’s room located on the Hisense Arena ground floor (near door 2).
Note: prams and strollers are not permitted in any of the seating areas.
There are a huge number of food and drink options on-site, from family-affordable meals to fine-dining from some of Melbourne’s best restaurants and premium dining venues, which will be available at all arenas. Visitors can experience a world food safari with English high teas, New York hot dogs or a cheeky glass of sparkling wine in a Parisian café, and a number of pop-up restaurants will be dotted around the grounds. Whatever you’re in the mood for, you definitely won’t go hungry.
For those wishing to save a bit of money on food, you can bring your own food into the venue. However it’s important to note that hampers, chairs, stools, portable coolers, glass, large containers bigger than 1.5 litres and alcohol are not permitted into the venue.
For those wishing to stay connected at the Australian Open, free public WiFi is available throughout the entire precinct. To access, visitors can connect to AO_PUBLIC_WiFi and then can open up a browser to register. There are also free mobile charging stations around Melbourne Park, so you don’t have to worry about your phone’s battery going flat.
Need to know
Australian summers can get very hot, with harsher UV rays than other parts of the world. So if you’re attending the Australian Open, make sure you’ve packed plenty of sunscreen, a hat and water to avoid sunburn and dehydration.
Going to Melbourne for the Australian Open? Make sure you check out other things to do with our guide to 24 Hours in Melbourne. Then once you’ve worked out your itinerary, all that’s left is to book your airport transfer from Melbourne Airport or Avalon Airport and enjoy some world-class tennis.