Australian Open 2019 was officially launched at Melbourne Park.
The Hon. John Eren MP, Victorian Minister for Sport, Tourism and Major Events, joined Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley and 22-time Grand Slam champion Todd Woodbridge on a specially designed art court.
Renowned Australian artist Bradley Eastman or BEASTMAN created the stunning court mural on Show Court 3 as part of a global campaign to get people to RETHINK what they know about the Australian Open.
The design represents a futuristic and contemporary landscape featuring a range of blues – the colour of the Australian Open – and green for tennis balls and to bring nature into the court. The composition complements the geometry of the court layout, interjecting it with bold organic lines and patterns.
Craig Tiley confirmed all the stars of the Australian Open, the top 100 men and top 100 women, would be in Melbourne for the 50th anniversary of the tournament in January.
A range of initiatives were announced, including:
· AUD $60.5 million total prize money pool, up 10 percent on 2018
· World’s best player facilities in the brand new Player Pod, part of the ongoing Melbourne Park redevelopment, offering players the very best training, treatment, dining and relaxing areas
· 50th anniversaries of the Australian Open and Rod Laver’s second Grand Slam
· 25-second Serve Clock
· 32 seeds in both the men’s and women’s main draw and qualifying
· Electronic Review on all 16 match courts
· Increase to 128 draw for women’s qualifying
· Ongoing trials for on-court coaching in qualifying and juniors
· Qualifying tournament to start a day earlier, on Tuesday 8 January
· High-profile practice matches to be held at MCA on each day of qualifying
· Australian Open Draw, a televised event open to the public at MCA on Thursday 9 January
· 15 Days of Music at AO Live Stage, with free beyond blue concert on Sunday 13 January
· Free AO Festival at Birrarung Marr, connecting the AO to the City of Melbourne
· The AO Ballpark returns three-times bigger and taking over the eastern side of the precinct with a giant waterslide, climbing walls, free entertainment and for the first time, professional onsite childcare
· The AO Inspirational Series on Thursday 24 January, celebrating leaders in women’s empowerment, diversity and inclusion
· NBL team Melbourne United take on the Illawarra Hawks in the AO Game at Melbourne Arena on Wednesday 23 January
· Australian Open Sports Film Festival, daily screenings of sports films at three locations across the precinct: AO Ballpark, Glasshouse Cinema and the AO Festival